Dictionary of Proper Names
Selected from Glossary and Index of Proper Names in Sri Aurobindo’s Works (1989/1996)
Aacrity / Acrity brother of Bhishmuc, & king of Saurāshtra; he is described as equal to Parashurāma in military skill & courage.
Aaron first high priest of Israelites whom he & his brother Moses led out of Egypt.
Abbassid(e) Arabic family descended from Abbas, uncle of Prophet Mahomad. In 669 the Omayyad clan unseated the 5th caliph Hasan, elder son of the 4th caliph Ali ibn Abi Tālib (the Prophet’s cousin & son-in-law) who was murdered in 661; in 680 Hasan’s brother Husein & his band were killed; their supporters, later known as the Shias or Shiites (protesters) rose up in revolt; in 747 the gifted Abbasside leader Abu Muslim (c.728-755) united most of the empire in revolt; & in late 749 became the caliph as Abu-el-Abbas-as-Saffah, founding the Third Caliphate. The second Abbasside caliph, Mansur (d.775), removed the capital from Damascus to Baghdad in 750, & the Persian influence along with Sufism grew strong in the Moslem empire. The early years of Abbasside rule were brilliant, rising to true splendour under Harun Al-Rashid, the 5th caliph (786-809), & to intellectual brilliance under his son Mamun, the 7th caliph. Less than a hundred years later, the conquests of Jhengiz Khan shook the empire; in 1258 his grandson Hulagu Khan overthrew the Abbasside Caliphate.
Abdul Bahā/ Abd-al-Bahā (1844-1921) Abbās Effendi Abd-al-Bahā, eldest son & successor of Bahā-Ullāh, who founded Baha’ism in 1862. He assumed the headship of Baha’ism upon his father’s death in 1892. The Mother, who knew him “very well”, says: “His father was imprisoned for spreading ideas that were more progressive & broad-minded than those of the Sufis, & was resented by orthodox Muslims. He was born in prison & lived in prison till he was forty. He told me his story & what had happened in Persia at the beginning of the religion. Generally, all those who have suffered tortures for their faith, for their highest thought, their most sublime ideal, have always felt a kind of divine grace helping them & keeping them from suffering. With a very few exceptions, men do not like what is superior to them, & when they meet someone who is far above them, that makes them furious. They suffer an almost insurmountable annoyance in meeting something so infinitely higher than what they are; they have only one idea, to destroy it. Those who have come with special abilities, a special grace, & have tried to make men come out of their ordinary rut, have been more or less persecuted, martyred, burnt alive, put on the cross. The human race, generally, has a sort of rancour against what surpasses it; it feels humiliated. Abdul Bahā had an excellent nature. He was as simple as his aspiration was great. His sincerity & his aspiration for the Divine were simple & very spontaneous.”
Sultan Abdul-Hamid Abd-ul-Hamid II (1842-1918), was the 34th & last Sultan (1876-1909) of the Ottoman Empire to exert effective control over the fracturing state; he delayed for a quarter century the liberal movement in the empire. He obtained the throne in 1876, when his brother Murād V was ousted by a liberal reform group led by the grand vizier Midhat Pasha. In fulfilment of promises made before his accession, Abdul-Hamid issued the empire’s first constitution on Dec. 23, 1876, a document largely inspired by Midhat Pasha. It provided for an elected bicameral parliament & for the customary civil liberties, including equality before the law for all the empire’s diverse nationalities. But in February 1877 he exiled Midhat Pasha & prorogued the new parliament in May. Anxious to appear as a religious champion against Christian encroachment, he encouraged the building of the Mecca railroad to make Islam’s holy places more accessible, subsidized the pan-Islamic policy of Jamal-ud-Din al-Afghani, whom he invited to Istanbul but virtually imprisoned there, & encouraged widespread support for himself as the head of the caliphate. But neither pan-Islamic nationalism nor the economic development with German aid could quiet the internal unrest. By 1907 both military & civilian protests were widespread; its leadership fell to the Committee of Union & Progress, a liberal reform group based in Salonika. In the summer of 1908, the Young Turk Revolution broke out & Abdul-Hamid, upon learning that the troops of the 3rd Army Corps in Salonica were marching on to Istanbul Constantinople (23 July), at once capitulated. On 24 July his irade announced the restoration of the suspended constitution of 1876 & elections & appointed a liberal grand vizier. The next day, further irades abolished espionage & censorship, & ordered the release of political prisoners. But the Sultan’s intrigues with the powerful conservative elements were confirmed when their counter-revolution broke out on 13 April 1909. When the government of the Young Turks (q.v.) was restored by soldiers from Salonica, they decided on Abdul-Hamid’s deposition, & on 27 April his brother Reshad Effendi was proclaimed Sultan Mehmed V. He spent his last days studying, carpentering & writing his memoirs in custody at Beylerbeyi Palace in the Bosporus, where he died on 10 February 1918, just a few months before his brother, the Sultan.
Abdullah Emir in Sri Aurobindo’s Khālid of the Sea, refers perhaps to the historical Abdullah ibn Ali, uncle of Caliph Al Mansur, who vied for the Abbasside Caliphate. Al Mansur defeated him with the help of Abu Muslim of Khorasan.
Abdulla Pacha probably Abdullah Pasha (1846–1937) also known as Abdullah Kölemen, an Ottoman general in the First Balkan War (q.v.), notable as the Ottoman commander in the Battle of Kirk Kilisse in 1912, the Battle of Lule Burgas (q.v.), & the Battle of Adrianople (1913) in which the Ottoman forces were defeated by the Bulgarians. “Abdullah Pasha’s battered army”, reported M.H. Donohue of Daily Chronicle from Tchataldcha (see Chatalja), “retreated from Lule-Burgas until it could retreat no further. The Government had mustered what raw levies it could, & sent them to hold the roads converging on San Stefano & Stamboul. Happily for Abdullah Pasha’s troops the exhausted Bulgarians did not press their pursuit from Tehorla with their early vigour. The road from Tehorla to Tchataldcha was a quagmire in which many Turkish guns were abandoned Most of the fugitives were frost bitten, wind blistered, & starving. In the last train from Tchorlu, the women & children were packed so closely that many of them were asphyxiated. The majority of the correspondents with the Turks lost their baggage in the stampede, & suffered great hardships.” Abdulla Pasha was Minister of War of the Ottoman Empire between 11 November & 19 December 1918 in the cabinet of Ahmet Tewfik Pasha.
Amir Abdur Rahman Abd-ul-Rahman Khan (1844-1901): Son of Afzal Khan, & grandson of the Amir Dost Muhammad: confirmed by his uncle Sher Ali, in 1863, in govt. in Turkistan: took part in the civil war between his father & Sher Ali: escaped to Bokhara when his father was imprisoned in 1864: collected a force & defeated Sher Ali in 1866 & recovered Kabul for his father: 1867 became Commander-in-Chief to his uncle Muhammad Azim: was defeated by Yakub Khan in 1869 & made for Bokhara, receiving an allowance from Russia: in 1880 when Yakub abdicated he was recognised & then nominated Amir of Kabul by the British: subsequently occupied Kandahar when British evacuated from there: established his power throughout Afghanistan in 1881 & had frontier disputes with Russia: visited Viceroy Dufferin at Rawalpindi in 1885: in 1893 received Sir Henry Mortimer Durand’s mission to settle frontier questions which at that time had nearly led to hostilities: ruled with an iron hand: employed English firms & experts of work for him at Kabul & greatly strengthened his kingdom & military power but maintained the tradition of keeping foreigners in general out of his country. [Buckland]
Abercrombie, Lascelles (1881-1938) English poet & critic.
Abhimanyu son of Arjūna & Subhadrā, hence also called Arjūni.
Abhirs hill tribe along the Indus. Nepal’s earlier rulers were Abhirs & Kirātas.
Absalom (c.1020 BC) favourite son of David, king of Israel & Judah; he revolted against his father & drove him into flight. Dryden made allegorical use of this story in his political satire “Absalom & Achitophel”.
Acamas a Greek warrior in the Iliad. When Diomedes (q.v.) went to Troy to ask for the return of Helen, Acamas accompanied him.
Achaemenian of Achaemenian Empire of a Persian dynasty that ruled 559-330 BC.
Achaia/ Achaea ancient Greece. Its natives prior to the Dorian (q.v.) invasion (c.1000 BC) were known as Achaians.
Āchārya Dr. Prānkrishna (1861-1936) a physician who joined politics after the partition of Bengal in 1905; he promoted Swadeshi crafts & education.
Acherontian waters Acheron, a river of Thesprotia in south Epirus (q.v.) flowed underground at some points, hence considered to lead to Hades.
Achilleid or Achilleis, Books I, VIII, & XI to XXII of the Iliad.
Achilles son of Peleus & Thetis & one of the foremost Greek warriors in the Trojan War. When still a child, his mother had, hearing a prophecy that he would die at Troy, bathed him in the river Styx to make him invulnerable. But the water had not touched the heel by which she held him. He was killed by Paris, who wounded him, in that one vulnerable spot.
Achitophel adviser of King David of Israel, he joined Absalom’s revolt.
Achyuta ‘the unfallen’, epithet of Sri Krishna.
Acirrous cohort of Diomedes & a resident of Troezen (q.v.).
Acrisius king of Argolis, his daughter Danaë gave birth to Perseus.
Acropolis an elevated fortified part of a city. The Acropolis of Athens was adorned with great architectural & sculptural monuments.
Acrur uncle of Sri Krishna who brought him & Balarāma from Gokul to Mathurā, as ordered by Kansa.
Adams, John (1735-1826) a leader in America’s War of Independence, was elected its first Vice-President & then President (1797-1801).
Addison, Joseph (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, dramatist; M.P. 1708-19.
Adhwara Yajna yajña of the Path leading to the Divine, esp. the Soma sacrifice.
Adīti “the infinite undivided consciousness of God”, personification of the Infinite & “the infinite Mother of the gods”. [SABCL Vol.11:32]
Ādityas/ Aditians/ Ᾱdityāh sons of Adīti; the Solar gods born in Truth, their home, & descended into the lower planes as the guardians & increasers of the Truth in man, leading him to felicity & immortality. [SABCL Vol. 11:467]
Admetus king of the Pherae in Thessaly & husband of Alcestes (q.v.), whom Apollo when he was banished from Olympus, served as a shepherd.
Adonais Shelley’s elegy on the occasion of the death of Keats.
Adrianople Europeanised name of Edirne, a city in European Turkey at the junction of the Tunca & Maritsa Rivers near the borders of Greece & Bulgaria. During the First Balkan War in 1913 it was taken by Bulgaria. Retaken by Turkey, it was captured by Greece in 1920 during the Turkish War of Independence & was finally restored to Turkey in 1922. [S/a Abdullah Pacha, Balkan Wars, Chatalja]
(Advisory) Council of Notables/ Board of Notables The original Council of India was established by the British Parliament’s Charter Act of 1833 for the Gov.-Gen. of the East India Company who was stationed in Calcutta. The Act made the Gov.-Gen. & his Council liable directly only to the Company’s Board of Control – a body of Directors under a president. The Act of 1858 created an India Office in London, headed by the cabinet-ranking Secretary of State for India to whom the Gov.-Gen. & his dominions were subservient. “In his able Minute of 1860, Sir Bartle Frere had advocated the need…to do away with ‘the perilous experiment of continuing to legislate for millions of people with few means of knowing, except by rebellion, whether the laws suit them or not’.” The result was the largely eyewash Indian Council Act of 1861 which besides fixing the outline of every succeeding legislative ‘reforms’ left (taking into account former Gov.-Gen. Dalhousie’s urging to include Indians in the Council created by the Act of 1853), a loop-hole for admission of Indians into the Gov.-Gen.’s Council. Thus in 1862, Viceroy Canning invited three Indian Notables (docile doves), Maharaja of Patiālā, Raja of Benares, & Sir Dinkar Rao, to sit & not speak unless asked to in his newly constituted Legislative Council. The Secretary of State was to be advised by a Council of India or India Council based in Whitehall, London. The Viceroy’s Council of India was renamed the Council of the Governor General of India. …. But it was soon apparent that the Secretary of State was in a position to ignore his Council in all vital matters…. [Yet this] position was legalised by the Act of 1869, which took away most of the powers of the Council, & further provided that its members were to hold office only for a period of ten years, renewable at the pleasure of the Secretary of State…. [An Advanced History of India, R.C. Majumdar, H.C. Raychaudhuri, & Kalikinkar Datta, 3rd Ed., 1973/1974, pp.842-47] Following suit, Morley’s ‘reforms’ announced on June 6th, 1907 included (1) the appointment of an Advisory Council of Notables, (2) enlargement of Viceroy Minto’s Legislative Councils, (3) the appointment of two Indians on to the India Council in London. On August 26th, a Royal Commission was also appointed to look into methods of decentralisation. “Resorting to diplomacy,” writes Dr M.N. Das, “Morley looked for one or two Indians for the India Council…. The Viceroy was ready to support him & promptly suggested for the India Council the names of Ameer Ali, & Harnām Singh.” Figuring out Minto’s unstated advice to keep the two communities at loggerheads to prevent their combined rebellion as in 1857-59, Morley “appointed Sir Krishna Govinda Gupta & Nawab Syed Hussain Bilgrami. Bilgrami retired early in 1910 owing to ill-health & his place was taken by Mirza Abbas Ali Baig.” [Dr. M.N. Das, India Under Morley & Minto: Politics behind Revolution, Repression & Reforms; Internet.] In 1907-09, Mr Gokhale among others demanded certain changes in the Home Govt., particularly the abolition of the India Council. A Committee, appointed in 1919, with Lord Crewe, an ex-Secretary of State for India, as chairman & Prof A.B. Keith & Mr B.N. Basu among others as members, to examine & report on the working of the Home Govt. recommended the total abolition of the India Council. But the recommendation was not accepted by the Joint Committee of Parliament…. The Secretary of State’s Council of India was abolished by the Act 1935. [An Advanced History of India, pp.907-08]
Advocate English bi-weekly published from Lucknow, founded by Rai Bahadur Gangāprasād Varmā in 1888 & edited by R.N. Varmā.
Ādya Shakti is the Supreme Consciousness & Power above the universe & it is by her that all the Gods are manifested, & even the supramental Ishwara – the supramental Purushottama of whom the Great Gods & Goddesses are Powers & Personalities. ― “Brahmā, Vishnu, & Shiva, are only three Powers & Personalities of the One Cosmic Godhead.” [SABCL 22: 390] – At X’s conscientious hesitation between Krishna and Shiva and Shakti I could not help indulging in a smile. If a man is attracted by one form or two forms of the Divine, it is all right, but if he is drawn to several at a time he need not torment himself over it. A man of some development has necessarily several sides in his nature & it is quite natural that different aspects should draw or govern different personalities in him: he can accept them all & harmonise them in the One Divine & the One Ādya Shakti of whom all are the manifestations. [SABCL 22:384-85; 23:521-22]
A. E. Pen name of George William Russell (1867-1935), poet & mystic; a leading figure in the Irish nationalist movement & the renascence of Irish literature & culture.
Aeacid(s) son(s) of Aeacus who was a son of Zeus & Aegina. Peleus (q.v.), father of Achilles, was one of the Aeacids.
Aegean arm of the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece & Asia Minor.
Aegisthus son of Thyestes. He survived the murder of his brothers, killed his uncle Atreus (q.v.), became the lover of Clytemnestra (q.v.) & helped her kill her husband Agamemnon (q.v.). In revenge, Agamemnon’s son, Orestes (q.v.), killed him.
Aeneas Trojan prince, son of Anchises & Aphrodite who, after the fall of Troy escaped to Italy with his aged father; his descendants founded Rome.
Aeneid unfinished Latin epic by Virgil on the origins of Rome. The adventures of the Aeneas are its theme.
Aeolia or Aeolis, on NW Coast of Asia Minor settled by Aeolians after fall of Troy.
Aeolus (1) king of Magnesia in Thessaly, son of Helen, & father of Sisyphus (q.v.). He founded the Aeolian branch of his tribe. (2) In Homer, controller of the winds & ruler of the floating island of Aeolia.
Aeschylus (c.524-455 BC) Athenian poet considered inventor of Greek tragedy.
Aeson father of Jason, driven out from his kingdom by his brother Pelian. In one legend he died while Jason was seeking the Golden Fleece; in another, Medea (q.v.) restored his youth after Jason’s return. She cut his body into pieces which she threw into her cauldron, & out of it he emerged rejuvenated.
Aethiopes in Homer, a dark-skinned race living by the stream Oceanus (cf. Ethiope).
Aetna/ Etna active volcano on the coast of Sicily, highest in Europe. Its eruptions are believed to be caused by the giant Enceladus (q.v.).
Aetolia region of ancient Greece.
Afrasiab Afrasiyab (d.1624 /25), Iraqi governor of Basra.
Aftab journal of Delhi started in 1906 by Syed Haider Reza. In a group photograph taken at Surat in December 1907, he sat beside Tilak & Sri Aurobindo. The others in the photograph are Ashwini K. Dutt, Sardar Ajīt Singh, G.K. Khaparde, Dr. Moonje, Kooverji Desai, & Rāmaswami. In 1908, the British suppressed Aftab along with the other influential Nationalist papers.
Aga Khan Title of the spiritual head the Bōrāh/ Khōjā Ismailian sect of Shia Mahomedans in India, East Africa & Central Asia. They are descendants of the mysterious & dreaded “old man of the mountains” who descended from Ali (the Prophet’s cousin & 4th Caliph) & his wife Fatima (the Prophet’s first child) & fled from Persia 40 years before Ali’s murder. The Aga Khan who was born in 1800, assisted the British with his light horse in the Afghan was 1842, for which he was given a monthly pension of Rs 1000. He resided a short time in Calcutta, then moved to Bombay. He exercised an almost absolute control over his subjects from whom he received an annual tribute amounting to a lakh of rupees. He died on April 12, 1881. Here the reference is to Aga Khan III, formerly Sultan Sir Mohammad Shah (1877-1957), a member of the Viceroy’s Council, 1902-04. The first move of the Viceroy to counter the massive nationalist agitation & a wave of terrorism that followed on the heels of the partition of Bengal was meeting the All-India Muhammedan Deputation (1stOct.1906) led by this Aga Khan who was conferred the status of Leader of the Muslims – disregarding the fact that the All-India Muslim League was the Govt. inspired forum of politically minded Muslims of the country. In 1910 he founded the Muslim University at Aligarh. The Govt. continued to treat him as Leader of the Muslims on many a crucial occasion in later years, e.g. invited him to the Round Table Conferences of 1930-33, appointed him leader of Indian Delegation to League of Nations, 1934-37, nominated him President of League of Nations Assembly, 1937. In 1947, he forswore Indian citizenship & vanished from the Indian scene. [S. Bhattacharya; Buckland; Durga Das’s India-From Curzon to Nehru & After, 1969]
Agamedes king of Orchomenus in Boeotia, in ancient Greece. [Cf. Ajamida]
Agamemnon eldest son of Atreus (q.v.), brother of Menelaus; king of Mycenae (q.v.) & Argos (q.v.), led the Greek armies in the Trojan War.
Agamemnon tragedy by Aeschylus
Agarkar Gopal Ganesh (1856-95); agreed with B.G. Tilak & V.K. Chiplunkar that the education system stipulated by the Minute on Education crafted by Macaulay & imposed by the Govt. in 1835, controlled & directed by the Govt. & Christian Missionaries was perverting India’s future generations. But they saw too that English education itself could be made the surest foundation of national resurgence, solidarity & progress. On 1st January 1880, they started the New English School in Poona, charging less than the Govt. High School & exempting the poor & in a year it had 336 students of which 20% were poor. Encouraged by the interest shown by Sir James Fergusson, Governor of Bombay they formed the Dakshīna English Society & in due course founded the Fergusson College. Agarkar was made a life-member with Tilak & others. But Agarkar remained a social reformer & did not jump into politics. [S.L. Karandikar, Lōkamānya Bal Gangādhara Tilak – The Hercules & Prometheus of Modern India, published by author from Sadāshiv Peth, Poona-2, 1957]
Agastya Vedic sage, author of many hymns in the Rig Veda. “Agastya had been for years driving deep into the earth, the abyss of the subconscient, for he nourished both the worlds, earth & heaven; he along with his companion Lopamudrā had been striving for the victory here upon earth itself, in their battle & the sacrifice with its hundred fiery tongues…for the effort that had the protection of the gods could never fail, na mṛṣā śrāntam yadavanti devāh. To carry the effort of the Vedic Rishis to a greater fulfilment, to make the victory complete in a hundred, nay, a thousand ways, śatanītham sahastranītham, ― this precisely was Sri Aurobindo’s aim.” – Nolini [Reminiscences, 2015, p.53]
Agathon (445-400 BC) Athenian tragic poet whose first success came at the festival in honour of Dionysus. Plato made that success the occasion for his dialogue Symposium to take place in Agathon’s house.
Agesilaus Agesilaus II (444-360 BC), king of Sparta (400-360 BC); though admired by contemporaries, notably Xenophon, his rule saw the ruin of Sparta.
Aglaia one of the three Graces (q.v.), daughters of Zeus & Eurynome who personified beauty & charm; often associated with the Muses: Dionysus, Eros, & Aphrodite the Greek divinities of arts & sciences.
Agnayi wife of Agni; daughter of Narmadā & Nīla, king of Mahismatipura on the banks of Narmadā. Her maiden name was Sudarshanā.
Agni/ Fire/ Flame/ Agnidevata the God of Fire, psychologically it is the divine Will perfectly inspired by & united to the divine Wisdom, the active & effective power of the Truth-Consciousness. As the divine mediator he carries men’s offerings to the gods & brings back their force & light & joy. More hymns are addressed in the Vedas to him than to any other god. In the Rig Veda he is sometimes identified with Rudra, the forerunner of the Puranic Shiva. In the Puranas, he is described variously as Agni Jātavedas the Knower of all Births; Agni Pāwaka the purifying fire, the psychic fire; Agni Twashta the Framer or Fashioner of things; Agni Vaishwānara the Universal in Man or Universal Power, as such it is the heat that digests food.
Agni Purana dictated by Agni to Rishi Vasishtha, one of the major eighteen Puranas, it is devoted to the Great God Shiva.
Agnimitra son & successor of Pushyamitra who the founder of the Śuṅga dynasty (q.v.). During his father’s reign he was the viceroy in the Narmada region with his capital as Vidisha, the modern Bhilda. He defeated his southern neighbour, the king of Vidarbha (Berar in British times) & extended the Śuṅga dominions up the Wardha River. He succeeded his father in about 149 B.C. & ruled, according to the Puranas, for eight years. His love affairs formed the theme of Kālidāsa’s drama Mālavikāgnimitram. His name has also been found on several coins.
Agra city on the river Yamuna or Jamunā, best known as the site of Taj Mahal. It was conquered in the first battle of Pāṇīpat 21 Apr.1526 by Babur who killed Ibrahim Lodi the ruler of Delhi & his governors Daulat Khan & Ālām Khan who dominated Punjab, & became the first Mogul Emperor of Hindustan. By the time he died his kingdom extended from Afghanistan to Bengal & from the foot of the Himalayas to Gwalior. His son Humāyūn lost all this empire but his grandson Akbar regained it all in the 2nd Battle of Pāṇīpat on 5 Nov.1556 by killing Hīmū the native Hindu slave general-minister of the Afghan king Ādil Shah Sur after a chance arrow struck & incapacitated Hīmū. Agra, one of the chief jewels of the Mogul empire, is best known for the Taj Mahal built by Akbar’s son Shah Jahan.
Agrippa Marcus Vipsanius (63-12 BC) adoptive son of Julius Caesar & companion of Octavian (later Augustus Caesar). In the struggle for power, after Caesar was murdered in 44 BC, he became Octavian’s key commander & helped him defeat Mark Antony at Actium in 31 BC. After Octavian took over as Emperor Augustus, Agrippa became his chief deputy & suppressed rebellions, founded colonies, & administered various parts of the Roman Empire.
Ahalyā in Rāmāyana, the dedicated wife of Rishi Gautama. Indra, infatuated with her beauty, came disguised as Gautama, when the sage was away & tricked her into surrendering herself to him. On his return the Rishi cursed them. In one version the curse covered Indra with a thousand vulvae & only when he repented did the Rishi change them into eyes of vigilance, whereas Ahalyā had to undergo severe penance while remaining invisible & reappear when purified by offering hospitality to Lord Rāma. In another (of the stage when husbands dominated?), silent on Indra’s fate, has her turned to stone & regain her human form after Lord Rama’s foot touches her. Still another (also silent on Indra’s fate!) has her turned into a dry stream which revives when Gungā brought by Bhagiratha passes over her, & she becomes Gautami or Godāvari. Ahalyā is the first of the pañcakanyāḥ, (Five Eternal Virgins), invoking whose grace is believed to protect the faithful Hindu wife: Ahalyā Draupadi Sītā Tārā Mandōdari tathā ǀ Pañcakanyāḥ smaré nityam mahāpātakanāśinīm ǀǀ Ahalyā, Draupadi, Sītā, Tārā (q.v.), & Mandōdari [see Rāvana]. Odisa’s Mahāri dance-tradition equates pañcakanyāḥ with pancha-mahābhūtas, the primary Tattwas: Āpah, Water; Agni, Fire; Prithvi, Earth; Vāyu, Wind; & Ākāsha, Ether.
Ahmadābād By 9th century it was a junction of trade-routes connecting the busiest ports Bharuch, Surat, etc. to commercial towns all over India – an ideal base for dacoits. It became known as Āshāvalli after the dacoit king Āshā Bhīl. Gujarat’s king Karṇadeva Solanki, father of Siddharāja Jaisingh, captured Āshāvalli. In its place grew Karṇāvati a town which later developed into a flourishing city under Udayana the Jain minister of Siddharāja. Most of those who settled there were Jains & Brahmins. [Vide The Glory of Gujarat, Rajnee Vyās, Gurjara-Anada Prakāshan, Ahmedabad, 1988, p.84]
In 1297, ‘Alā-ud-din Khalji, the Turkish-Afghān Sultan of Delhi, annexed Gujarat. In 1401, Zafar Khan (son of a Rajput convert), who had been appointed governor of the province in 1391 by the youngest son of Fīrūz of the house of Tughluq, formally assumed independence. After his death in 1411, Ahmad Shah, his grandson, ascended the throne. “He has been justly regarded, as the real founder of the independence of Gujarat. Endowed with considerable courage & energy, he engaged himself throughout his reign of 30 years in extending the limits of his kingdom, which had been confined during the reigns of his two predecessors, to a small territory near Karṇāvati. Success always attended his campaigns against the Sultan of Mālwā & the chiefs of Asīrgarh, Rājputāna & other neighbouring territories. So he devoted his attention to improving the civil administration of his kingdom & dispensed justice impartially. In the first year of his reign he built the beautiful fortress-city of Ahmadābād near Ashāvalli/ Karṇāvati, & removed his capital to that place, which to this day bears witness to his taste & munificence.” [Advanced History of India, pp.344-45, 563] It is believed that the pious sultan sanctified a long-worshipped moorti in Karṇāvati from one of the Hindu temples in the city, by planting it as the foundation stone of his ‘eternal’ fortress city. The fort, built as impregnable as those his devout ancestors built in Kabul & Kandahar, spread over 43 acres with 14 battlements & 18 cannons, around a proper Islamic ghetto with narrow to very narrow lanes ideal to fight invaders, came up by 1486. [Glory of Gujarat, p.85]
“Sultan Ahmad Shah’s only defect was his religious intolerance”, says the Advanced History of India, omitting to add its manifestations: The fortress was ideally situated for his military & civil requirements, while his city a ready-to-hand source for performing the jihadi obligations – the majority of its residents being Hindus & Jains, its being on the trade route brought a regular supply Hindu merchants & travellers. “Sultan Ahmad Shāh feasted for three days, whenever the number of defenceless Hindus slain in his territories in one day reached twenty thousand.” [See India]
“Gujarat was annexed to the Moghul Empire by Akbar in 1572…. Ahmadābād in Gujarat has been described by Abu-l-Fazl as ‘a noble city in a high state of prosperity...for the pleasantness of its climate & display of the choicest productions of the whole globe is almost unrivalled”. [Advanced History of India] It must have been the euphoria created by his happy sojourn in this holy Islamic city that Jahangir was so easily conned into permitting the E.I. Co. (q.v.) a solid foothold in his empire. It was here that saintly Aurangzeb was born in 1659 &, later, as its Subā, his piety added to its peace, prosperity & magnificence. It was here Aurangzeb’s brother Murād crowned himself Emperor on hearing of their father’s illness in Delhi, & made a treaty with Aurangzeb to murder their eldest brother Dārā & share the empire &, naturally, did not live to see that happen. In 1755-7 the Peshwa aided by the Gaikwād replaced the Mogul in Gujarat; in 1783 the fortified Gaikwād Haveli came up in Ahmadābād. ― Here, at the INC session of December 1902 presided over by Surendranath Banerji, Sayājirao read a speech drafted by Sri Aurobindo, while behind the Pandal the latter met with Tilak who had recently met Swami Vivekananda & discussed the subject nearest to their hearts: Swaraj. Here in Nov. 1909, says p.14 of Rowlett Report of 1918, “During the visit of Viceroy Minto to Ahmedabad...when he & Lady Minto were driving in a carriage with outriders, something was thrown at the carriage from the crowd, & subsequently two cocoanut bombs were discovered on the road one of which exploded & blew off the hand of the finder.” Here, following the Khilafat Agitation, met the shocking INC Session of 1922.
Ahrimān/ Āngra Manyu the Destructive Spirit in the Avestā, the sacred book of the Zoroastrian religion. One of the two Primeval Powers, he is the Lord of Darkness & Evil who manifests Nothingness, Vacuum, Destruction, Darkness & Doom.
Ahura Mazda/ Ahura Mazda/ Ormuzd Lord of Wisdom in the Avestā, the sacred book of the Zoroastrian religion. One of the two Primeval Powers, he is the Supreme God, the creator of the universe who manifests Expansion, Creativity, Light & Life.
Ain-i-Akbari in Persian by Abu-l-Fazl (1551-1602), Akbar’s friend, private secretary & adviser, is a survey of the achievements of Akbar’s economic & administrative system. Fazl also wrote Akbarnāmāh – eulogising the Akbar’s Empire.
Airāvata/ Irāvath in Vishnu Purana the son of Irāvati, granddaughter of Rishi Kashyapa, he emerged as a white elephant from the cosmic Ocean of Milk when it was churned by Devas & Dānavas. The Great Gods (q.v.) bade him serve Indra. Assisted by seven colleagues he guards the eight zones of the Universe.
Aitareya (Upanishad) an Upanishad of the Rig Veda.
Aiyar, Krishnaswami Moderate lawyer-politician appointed Judge of Madras High Court in 1909.
Aiyar, Subramaniya G. Subramania Iyer (1855-1916), Moderate leader, jurist, & social reformer, who in 1878 founded The Hindu in collaboration with a few close friends. In July 1908, he was arrested for supporting the Swadeshi movement & advocating Swaraj, but the case was soon after withdrawn.
Aiyar, T. Paramasiva a geologist whose The Riks interprets the Vedas in geological terms & the Rishis who composed them as topographical formations of the time.
Aiyar, V.V.S. Varahaneri Venkatesa Subramanya Iyer (1881-1925), an authority on Kamban & Valluvar, he was a successful writer considered the originator the short story format in Tamil. He lived in Pondicherry between 1910 & 1920.
Aja in Kālidāsa’s Raghuvamsha, a king who was chosen as husband by Indumati, sister of king Bhōja of Vidarbha.
Ajamede puruvamshi Ajamida was great-grandson of the legendary king Bhārata, who was the son of Pururavas.
Ajatashatr(o)u in Brihadāranyaka Upanishad, king of Kāshi who, though a Kshatriya instructed the Brāhmaṇa Gārgya (q.v.) as to the real nature of the Self. (He is not to be confused with the Ajātashatru, king of Magadha during the time of Buddha, who patronised of Buddha’s cousin Devadatta, & built Pātaliputra q.v.).
Ajax (1) son of Oïleus & leader of the forces from Locris in the Trojan War hence called the Locrian Ajax or Ajax the Lesser. (2) Son of Telamon hence called Telamonian Ajax or, due to his size & reckless valour, Ajax the Greater.
Sirdar Ajīt Singh (d.1947) led the nationalist movement in Punjab against increase of land-revenue & irrigation rules, & founded the Indian Patriots’ Association. Charged with inciting native troops, he was deported to Mandalay (q.v.) in 1907.
Ajmere Ajmer capital of a former kingdom in Rājputāna. 1956, Ajmere became a part of the ‘Rajasthan’ state of the Socialist Secular Republic of India.
Ājwā gigantic reservoir, c.12 miles from Baroda city, built in 1890-91 & opened Sayāji Sarovar on 29th March 1892 by Sayājirao. It was renamed Pratap Sarovar in 1930 when Sayājirao’s grandson, Pratap Singh, was installed Crown Prince.
Ākāśa-lipi/ Akashic records is the enduring occult trace in astral light, of all the events, thoughts, ideas, emotions that have ever occurred, preserved in Ākāsha, the all-pervading astral medium. Akashic is the adjective of ākāśa & līpi means record.
Akbar (1542-1605), exemplary grandson of Babur (an exemplary descendant of Taimur Lang & Chenghiz Khan), he was the 3rd Emperor of Mughal Hindusthan (1556-1605). The history of Hindusthan in 1526-56 is mainly the story of the Mughul-Afghān contest for supremacy. The previous Mughul (Mongol) inroads…only added, through the settlement of the ‘New Mussalmāns’, a new element that at times harassed the Turko-Afghan Sultans. But the invasion of Taimur, who occupied the Punjab, accelerated the fall of the decadent Sultanate of Delhi. One of his descendants, Babur, attempted a systematic conquest of Northern India & thus laid the foundation of a new Turkish dominion (the so-called Mughuls really belonged to a branch of the Turks named after Chaghātai, the second son of Chenghīz Khān, who came to possess Central Asia & Turkestan), which being lost in the time of his son & successor Humāyūn, in the face of an Afghān revival. Humāyūn died in January 1556 & the next month Akbar was formally proclaimed as his successor. ─ Soon after Akbar’s accession, Hīmū, an adept Hindu slave-general-minister of the Afghan king Ādil Shāh Sūr, occupied Agra & Delhi by defeating Tārdi Beg, the Mughul governor of Delhi. Hīmū met Akbar & his father’s old comrade & Moghul Regent Baihrām Khān at Pāṇīpat with a large army including 1,500 war elephants on 5 Nov., 1556, a battle 19th century historians dubbed as Pāṇīpat II. Hīmū was winning against both wings of the Mughul army when one of his eyes was pierced by a chance arrow & he lost consciousness. As his soldiers began to disperse in confusion, he was put to death, whether by Baihrām or Akbar is still a matter of debate among professional historians but either way the Moghul blood took centre-stage. Pāṇīpat II marked the beginning of the Mughul Empire in Hindusthan. Between 1558 & 1569 Gwālior, Ajmer, & Jaunpur were incorporated in it. For the next forty years, Akbar went on a spree of annexation after annexation until he dominated the whole of northern & central India.
But Mewād, which under Rāṇā Saṇga (q.v.) had contested with Babur for the supremacy of northern India, & was been provided with excellent means of defence in its steep mountains & strong castles, then under Rāṇā Ratan Singh not only did not bow its head but sheltered Bāz Bahādur, the king of Mālwā, this was an offence Akbar could not digest. So in October 1567, he laid such an implacable siege around Chittodgadh that Rāṇā Udai Singh fled to the hills, & Akbar captured that greatest pride of Mewād. After annexing Ranthambhor & Kālinjar (c.100-odd km SW of Allahabad) in 1569, Akbar decided to subjugate Gujarat due its rich & flourishing ports & special commercial position (Humāyūn’s occupation of it had not lasted). In 1572 Akbar marched in person against Gujarat, defeated all opposition & pensioned off the puppet king…. But no sooner had he reached his H.Q. at Fatehpur Sikri than insurrection broke out in Gujarat. He hurried back to Ahmadābād, having traversed 600 miles in eleven days & thoroughly vanquished the insurgents in a battle near Ahmadābād in September 1573. Bengal was conquered in 1576, Orissa in 1592, Kabul in July 1585, Kashmir in 1586, Sind in 1590-91. Soon after he conquered Baluchistan in 1595, he received the eager surrender of Qandahār (Anglicised spelling of Moslemised spelling of Gāndhāra) by its Persian governor. That must have been when Akbar disinfected the age-old city of Purūshapūra by renaming it Peshāwar. Thus by 1595 Akbar made himself he undisputed master of the lands from Himālayās to the Narmadā, & from the Hindukūsh to the Brahmaputra. ─ He then decided to extend his paramountcy over South India, i.e. the Sultanate of Ahmadnagar, Bijāpur, Golkundā, & Khāndesh. Miān Bahādur Shāh, a ruler of Khāndesh (q.v.), refused to submit to Akbar…. Akbar marched to the south in July 1599. He soon captured Burhanpur, the capital of Khāndesh, & easily laid siege to the mighty fortress of Asīrgarh, than which “it was impossible to conceive a stronger fortress, or one more amply supplied with artillery, warlike stores & provisions”. The besieged garrison, though greatly weakened own to the outbreak of a terrible pestilence which swept off many of them, defended the fortress for six months, when Akbar hastened to achieve his end by subtle means. Unwilling to prolong the siege as his son Salim had rebelled against him, the emperor inveigled Miān Bahadur Shah into his camp to negotiate a treaty, on promise of personal safety, but detained him there & forced him to write a letter to the garrison with instructions to surrender the fort. The garrison, however, still held out. Akbar next seduced the Khāndesh officers by lavish distribution of money among them, & thus the gates of Asīrgarh “were opened by golden keys”. This was the last ‘conquest’ of Akbar. His son Shah Jahan almost, & his grandson Aurangzeb fully, completed his goal of subduing South India not forgetting to use his “golden keys”. By 1601, with his conquest of Khāndesh, Akbar the Great’s Empire extended from Kabul to Bengal & Himalayas to Narmadā. According to his secretary Abu-l-Fazl, Akbar divided his empire into 15 subās: Kabul, Lahore including Kashmir, Multan including Sindh, Delhi, Agra, Oudh, Prayāga, Ajmer, Ahmadābād, Mālwā, Bihar, Bengal, Khāndesh, Berar, & Ahmadnagar. Over each subā was a subadar or Nawab Nazim with a Diwan in charge of the finances. Todar Mal organised Akbar’s land survey & settlement system, & assessment of taxation on farmers at the rate of ⅓ of the produce paid in cash or kind to state officers. [Vide S. Bhattacharya; R.C. Majumdar et al’s Advanced History…] “Hindu rulers had,” writes L.S.S. O’Malley, editor of Modern India & the West: A Study of Interaction of Their Civilisations, “charged cultivators one-sixth of the produce as tax, Akbar raised it to one-third, & his grandson Shāh Jahan to one-half”. [K.R.S. Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo: A biography & a history, 1985]
“In 1579, Akbar issued The Infallibility Decree authorising the Emperor to five the final decision on any question concerning the Muhammedan religion ‘for the glory of God & propagation of Islam’. It made the Mughul emperor the final arbiter on all theological questions of Muhammadanism & largely increased his authority. Last, but not the least, Akbar dreamt of creating an Indian nation out of the fighting Hindus & Muhammedans in India. Feeling that it was religion which, more than anything else tended to keep them apart…in 1581 he promulgated a new religion called the Dīn Ilāhi. Akbar believed in the principle of universal toleration…& left its acceptance to the inner feelings of man. As religion is more a matter of faith than of reason, his new religion made few converts & failed in its object. But the effort to promulgate it ‘assured to him for all time a pre-eminent place among the benefactors of humanity’.” [Vide S. Bhattacharya; R.C. Majumdar et al’s Advanced History…]
Sri Aurobindo: “Even exceptional rulers, a Charlemagne, an Augustus, a Napoleon, a Chandragupta, Asoka or Akbar, can do no more than fix certain new institutions which the time needed, & help the emergence of its best or else its strongest tendencies in a critical era. When they attempt more, they fail. Akbar’s effort to create a new Dharma for the Indian nation by his enlightened reason was a brilliant futility. Asoka’s edicts remain graven upon pillar & rock, but the development of Indian religion & culture took its own line in other & far more complex directions determined by the soul of a great people. Only the rare individual Manu, Avatar or Prophet who comes on earth perhaps once in a millennium can speak truly of his divine right, for the secret of his force is not political but spiritual. For an ordinary political ruling man or a political institution to have made such a claim was one of the most amazing among the many follies of the human mind.” [SABCL vol. 15, p.435-36]
Akenside, Mark (1721-70) English poet best known The Pleasures of Imagination.
Aksha eldest son of Rāvaṇa, slain in battle by Hanuman
Alaka/ Ullaca capital of Kubera, half-brother of Rāvaṇa, king of Gāndharvas & Yakshas on Mt. Sumeru.
Alaric Alaric I (370-410), chief of the Visigoths (a Germanic tribe) from AD 395; his army sacked Rome in August 410.
Alastor or The Spirit of Solitude a poem by P.B. Shelley
Alcaeus (c.620-580 BC) Greek lyric poet, contemporary of Sappho.
Alcestes/ Alcestis daughter of Pelias & wife of Admetus, king of the Pherae in Thessaly. When Admetus was dying, she offered to die in his stead; so he lived & she went to Hades. She was returned to the world of the living by the grace of Persephone (Kore) or, in another account, by the intervention of Heracles.
Alcibiades (450-404 BC.), politician & military commander who provoked the bitter political antagonisms in Athens that were the main cause of Athens’ defeat by Sparta in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC).
Alexander (356-323 BC), son of Philip II, king of Macedonia (376-323). In 333 & 331 Alexander defeated king of Persia, the last of the line of Darius & Xerxes, the next year the Persian king died & Alexander became master of the Achaemenian Empire. In 327, he garrisoned a number of strongholds near modern Kābul & attacked the hill tribes of the Kunar & Swāt valleys; stormed the fortresses on his way to the city of Pushkalāvatī of Gāndhāra which too he ‘conquered’; then on through dense jungles to Ohind (326 BC). Āmbhi, who had exiled his father the king of Takshashilā, received the invader in his own capital with obsequious pomp & provided every support for him to invade neighbouring kingdoms. But on coming to the Indus, the megalomaniac found arrayed on the opposite bank, the huge army of the elder Pururava King, a man of gigantic & powerful build, who was mortified by the pusillanimous conduct of his Takshashilān neighbour. Devious & unethical like every invader has always been, Alexander diverted Pururava’s attention & crossed over at a sharp bend of the river about seventeen miles above his camp, under cover of a thickly wooded promontory over a bridge of boats, onto a mid-stream island covered with jungle. The small force that had hurried to dispute the passage was easily routed. The Paurava reached there with 30,000 foot, 4,000 horses, 300 chariots, & 200 elephants, but made the mistake of allowing the Macedonians to take the offensive with the superior cavalry. He did not flee, but went on fighting on a mighty elephant until he received a severe wound. The invader next overran the petty principalities & tribal territories in the vicinity of the realm of the great Paurava. He crossed the River Chandra [renamed Chenāb] & her sister Irāvati (q.v.) stormed Sāngal, the stronghold of the Kathaioi, & moved on to the Beas. He wished to press forward to the Ganges valley, but his war-worn troops rebelled, so he erected twelve towering altars to mark the utmost limit of the devastation he had achieved, & sent home a part of his troops through Afghānistān. He led the rest ravaging the territory of free & warlike tribes inhabiting the lower valley murdering thousands of civilians, men, women & children. Inhabitants of a city, preferring death to dishonour, threw themselves into the flame in the manner of the Rājputs who practiced Jauhar in later times. The conqueror himself, received a dangerous wound while storming one of the citadels of the powerful tribe of the Mālavas. The subdued nations made presents of chariots, bucklers, gems, draperies, lions, tigers, etc. The maddened megalomaniac reduced the principalities of Sind, & trudged through the deserts of Baluchistān, & after terrible sufferings, reached Babylon where he died in 323 BC. [Vide S. Bhattacharya, D.I.H., R.C. Majumdar et al’s Advanced History of India; Internet]
Alexander Borgia (1431-1503) born Rodrigo de Borja in Spain, became Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503); his neglect of the spiritual inheritance of the Church contributed to the development of the Protestant Reformation (q.v.).
Alfieri, Vittorio Cone (1749-1803), Italian tragic poet whose lyrics & dramas helped revive the national spirit of Italy & so earned the title of the Precursor of the Risorgimento – the liberation & unification of Italy in the 19th cent.
King Alfonso Alphonso XIII (1886-1941), king of Spain (1886-1931); seeking to enhance his power at the expense of Parliament he hastened his own deposition by advocates of the Second Republic.
Alfred Alfred the Great (849-899), Anglo-Saxon king (877-899) of Wessex, England, who repulsed the invading Danes, & promoted a great revival of learning.
Sir Ali Imam (1869-1932) of Patna, Bihar; he joined the Muslim League in 1908. Since he supported Govt. of India Act of 1909, decreeing separate electorates for all religious & caste divisions, he was knighted in 1910. After Gandhi took over the freedom movement, he saw what Jinnah saw in 1919: separate electorates harmed Muslims by negating national unity of pre-British Hindustan.
Alipore/ Alipur a suburb of South Kolkata & headquarters of South 24-Parganas district of West Bengal. It was at Alipore that Warren Hastings built the Belvedere Estate where the Governor’s palace came up. Thereafter more & more Government buildings, mansions of top British bureaucrats & businessmen came up there. It was the safest place to build the sprawling Jail for the enemies of the Raj.
(1) Hemendranath: The Alipore Bomb Conspiracy Case has become a part of the Indian national struggle for independence. The Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta, Mr Kingsford, had become very unpopular because of the severity with which he punished persons accused of political offences.
(2) Abinash: All the sedition cases against Yugāntar, Bande Mataram, Sandhyā, etc., were heard by Kingsford. It was he who ordered [15-year old] Sushil Sen’s caning. For these & other reasons the people were aroused against Kingsford. Barin became obsessed with the idea of killing him. When a book-bomb sent to Kingsford failed to explode, it was decided to finish him off by throwing a bomb right at him…. In the meanwhile Kingsford was transferred to Muzaffarpur. Before this, Barin had sought Aurobindo-babu’s view about assassinating the French mayor of Chandernagore. He came & said: “Sejda, I want to kill the mayor of Chandernagore…. He broke up a national meeting there & persecuted the local population.” Aurobindo-babu replied: “So he ought to be killed? How many people will you kill in this way? I cannot give my consent to this. Nothing will come of it.” ― “No, Sejda, if this isn’t done; these oppressors will never learn the lesson we have to teach them.” ― “Very well, if that’s what you think, do it.”
(3) Purani: On 14 April 1908, Khudiram & Prafulla Chāki received a bomb from Barin & two tested revolvers from Abinash. But the bomb they hurled at the carriage they thought was Kingsford’s, actually carried two rich white women. Prafulla shot himself to death; Khudiram allowed himself to be caught & was hanged on 31 August 1908. On 1st May, police raided 32, Muraripukur; subsequently 26 members of the Yugāntar Party were arrested. Early morning of May 2, Sri Aurobindo Ghose was taken into custody from his residence at 48, Grey Street. On 17th May 1908, the case was brought up before Mr Birley & on 18th May the case was officially begun. Sarojini issued an appeal for funds for the defence of Sri Aurobindo. A preliminary enquiry was held on the 19th of August & the accused were charged with sedition & conspiracy. It was charged that after the partition of Bengal the accused had preached sedition through the Bengali weekly Yugāntar & had conspired together to wage war against His Majesty’s Govt. that they sought to overawe the authorities by violence & had collected arms & made extensive preparations for manufacturing bombs. Among the other charges were that they had attempted to wreck the train by which the Lt.Gov. Sir Andrew Fraser was travelling, had thrown a bomb into the residence of the Mayor of Chandernagore, fired at Mr Allen, the District Magistrate of Dacca & sent Khudiram & Prafulla Chāki to murder Mr Kingsford. One of the accused, Narendra Nath Goswami, turned approver during the enquiry & more persons were arrested as a result of his disclosures. Kanai Lal Dutta & Satyendra Nath Bose shot Goswami dead in the Presidency Jail Hospital on 31 August. In November they were hanged in the jail: Kanailal on 10th & Satyendra on 21st.
(4) Abinash: The trial lasted for more than a year during which we were kept in Alipur Central Jail. After the three of us (Aurobindo-babu, Sailen & I) were arrested, we were taken first to a police station & then to the Lal Bazar hājat where we were kept in separate cells. On the third day we were brought before the Presidency Magistrate. While we were at the hājat, CID officers came to try to make us give confessions. They tried to frighten us with all kinds of tales: “Barin has confessed; Upen & Ullāskar too”, &c. None of us could believe that Barin & others had confessed. From the Presidency Magistrate’s Court we were sent to Alipur Central Jail. Just at the moment that the three of us, following police instructions, were getting into a horse-carriage, my younger brother Upendra forced his way through a contingent of policemen & a large crowd of people, tossed a daily newspaper to us & slowly walked away; his age at that time was thirteen or fourteen. When we looked at the paper we learned that Barin had actually confessed. Aurobindo-babu simply said, “Has Barin gone off his head?” During the first days…we were kept in groups of three, four, five or six to a cell. Later we were kept together in a very large room. People arrested in different places were brought & kept with us…. One day I asked Aurobindo-babu to explain a verse from the Upanishads to me. He explained it to me in a very simple & easy-to-understand way. I told [this] interpretation to the great Pundit Tarkachudāmani. He exclaimed with great joy: “Why Abinash, I could never have explained this as simply as Aurobindo-babu has.” ...One of our companions, Hem Sen (q.v.), used to hide a little of the food that he got from outside. The next morning he distributed it to everyone. In the middle of the night some people took the food out & had a lot of fun sharing it with those who were still awake. Hem used to shout a lot while distributing the food in the morning. I usually got a share. Once, when I was passing out some of Hem’s biscuits, I noticed that Aurobindo-babu was awake. I stuffed three or four biscuits into his hands. He chortled with delight like a child, stretched out on the floor & started munching them. During our free time we sat in a circle with Aurobindo-babu & played ‘word making’. Hem Sen taught ju-jitsu almost every morning. In this way our days passed & the trial went on. . . . During the trial, Aurobindo-babu sat in the first place on the first bench, I sat next to him. He was always absorbed in meditation. Sometimes he said a word or two to me. Mr Das & the other lawyers asked each of us to write down whatever we had to say in our defence. I used to write down whatever had to be said about Aurobindo-babu for Barrister Das. Sometimes I even used to answer questions for him. After the trial had gone on for more than a year, judgement was delivered on 6 May 1909. Aurobindo-babu was acquitted; Barin & Ullāskar were sentenced to be hanged & I & nine others given transportation for life. Some received jail-terms of a few years & others were freed…. No one gave a thought to his own fate at that time. The farewells began. People started embracing Aurobindo-babu; he told Barin & Ulhās: “You won’t be hanged.” To me he said: “You’ll return soon.” We came back to our senses…. During the first days in Alipur jail, we were kept in groups of three, four, five or six to a cell. Later we were kept together in a very large room. People arrested in different places were brought & kept with us. It was during this period that suddenly at eight one morning Kanai Dutt & Satyen-babu killed Noren Gossain, the government approver, in the hospital compound with a revolver. That very day around noon we were put in the 44 Degree cells, one person to a cell. Kanai & Satyen had already been put in the first two cells. When it was time to go to the court, we were all handcuffed, dumped into the van & taken together. We had a lot of fun in the courtroom during the trial. We were kept inside a cage with handcuffs fastened to our wrists & attached to a chain. Barrister Chittaranjan Das drew Beachcroft’s attention to the fact that it was illegal to keep someone handcuffed before the honourable judge; we raised our arms, chain & all, to show him. The judge replied: “This is an arrangement made by the police for reasons of security. I do not want to interfere with it.” At that moment we lowered our arms, unshackled ourselves & again raised our now free arms for him to see. The judge was rather astonished & said: “If they can in any case release themselves, of what value is this arrangement?” Needless to say we had learned to open our handcuffs in a trice.
(5) Hemendranath: The regular trial began on the 19th of October 1908, before Mr Beachcroft, Additional Sessions Judge of Alipore. There were two groups of accused: in one there were 33 & in the other 9. The prosecution was conducted by the famous lawyer, Mr Eardley Norton, while Shri Aurobindo was at first defended by Messrs Byomkesh (q.v.) & K.N. Chowdhury. Shri Aurobindo had voluntarily embraced poverty, & public Chakraborty subscriptions were raised for his defence. The amount however was soon spent & a time came when there was no one except Chittaranjan left to defend him…. 4,000 paper exhibits & about 500 material exhibits in the form of bombs & explosives were filed. Altogether 222 witnesses were examined; in the sessions court 208 witnesses were called. The case lasted up to 13 April 1909. The jury summed up its opinion on 13th & 14th April & on 6th May 1909 Mr Beachcroft delivered his judgment: seventeen accused, including Sri Aurobindo, were acquitted; 36 convicted; Barindra & Ullāskar Dutta were sentenced to death, ten were given transportation for life; others received jail-terms of a few years. There was an appeal against the two death sentences before the Chief Justice, Sir Lawrence Jenkins (q.v.) & Mr Justice Carnduff; they reduced them to transportation for life to the Andamans along with those given the same sentence.
[Hemendranath Das Gupta, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, Builders of Modern India series, Govt. of India, 1960, 1969, 1977; A.B. Purani’s Life of Sri Aurobindo, 1978; Abinash Bhattacharya, “Sri Aurobindo”, Mother India, July 2012, pp.528-39; &c.]
Allahabad Since 1193, when it was captured by Sultan Mohammad Ghori of Delhi, Prayāga became a property of foreign invaders & masters. Seeing the immense navigational potential of this strategically situated town, Akbar built one of his largest forts on its banks & made it the seat of his Illahabad Subā, one of his twelve original subās (imperial top-level provinces). It was from Illahabad that his prince Salim led a revolt against his father Akbar, & in 1602 held a parallel imperial court in this fort, ignoring the royal summons to leave Illahabad & proceed to Agra. Salim acceded to the Moghul throne under the name Jahangir. In 1765, the combined forces of the Nawab of Awadh & the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II lost the Battle of Buxar to the British. After the British had established a garrison at Fort Allahabad, Warren Hastings later took Allahabad from Shah Alam & gave it to Awadh, alleging that he had placed himself in the power of the Marathas. In 1801 the Nawab of Awadh ceded the city to the E.I. Co. In 1834, Allahabad became the seat of the Government of Agra Province & a High Court was established. A year later both were relocated to Agra. During the Revolt 1857, Allahabad had only a small garrison of European troops & the revolutionaries took over the city. After the ‘Mutiny’ was squashed, the British set up the Police Headquarters & a High Court to squash any dream of patriotic natives of an encore; then to foster the dreams of loyalist & bourgeois natives added a branch of their Public Service Commission. To seal it further, U.P.’s defiant Delhi region was merged with Punjab which had stood soul & sword with their overlords, & transferred the capital of the North-Western Provinces to Allahabad, where it remained for the next twenty years. In 1773 the British extracted a treaty from their ally Shuja-ud-daulah the Nawab of Oudh authorising its usurpation of his districts of Kora & Allahabad.
The 4th & 8th INC (1888 & 1892) sessions were held in Allahabad (capital of the United Provinces of Agra & Oudh from 1877 into 1920s) in the grounds of Darbhanga Castle. The Nehru family homes of Ananda Bhavan & Swaraj Bhavan, both in Allahabad, were at the centre of the political activities of the Indian National Congress. It was at Motilal’s residence that in October 1916 the official representatives of the Muslim League & the Congress worked out the final draft of the Lucknow Pact that both passed in 1916. [P. Sitāramayyā’s The History of the Indian National Congress, 1935 & 1946; M.V. Ramana Rao (an official of A.I.C.C.), A Short History of the Indian National Congress, S. Chand & Co., 1959. Foreword by Indira Gandhi; Preface by U.N. Dhebar]
Allen affair in Nov-Dec 1907, there was an attempt to kill B.C. Allen, who had just handed over charge of the office of District Magistrate of Dacca, on the platform of Goalundo (a town & a ferry-ghāt on the Gungā then in East Bengal). The assailants got away; British CID, with its outsized net of informers & squadrons of policemen in & out of uniform, failed to find a trace of them, & without a shred of evidence it blamed the Anushilan Samiti, – something no European Govt. would dare permit in its own country with regard to people of its own race. And in January 1910, exactly the opposite reaction emanated from Govt. machinery in spite of ample physical evidence of a gang of drunk, murderous European men & women having assailed a totally blameless Indian traveller on the same station & got away! [S/a “A Thing that Happened” in SABCL vol.2, pp.358-62]
Alwār(s) literally “those immersed in God”, were Tamil Vaishnava mystic-poets who sang praises of Vishnu as they travelled from one place to another; their songs rank among the world’s greatest devotional literature. The most famous of them was Nammalwar. They established temple sites such as Srirangam. Their bhakti-songs, compiled as Alwār Arulicheyalgal or Divya Prabhandham, developed into an influential scripture for the Vaishnava bhakti & is mentioned in Bhāgavata Purana.
Amara Amarakosha (‘deathless dictionary’ or ‘dictionary by Amara’) by Amar Singh.
Amaravati/ Amraoti ‘city of immortals’. Amravati is derived from Um(b)rāvati the corrupted form of Udumbrāvati the Sanskrit name given after the city’s ancient temple consecrated to Goddess Amba Situated 340m above sea-level, it is located on the banks of the River Krishna. In 2nd century, it became the capital of the Śatavāhana dynasty & grew into a renowned centre of Hindu & Buddhist culture. A purely indigenous school of art, architecture & sculpture developed here which may have preceded the Mathura & Gāndhāra schools but is free from all trace of Greek influence. Between 1880 & 1920, the district was a stronghold of the Nationalist leaders G.S. Khaparde, R.N. Mudholkar, Moropant Joshi, & P.P. Jog. On 28th January 1908, after the Surat Congress, Sri Aurobindo came to Amraoti from Dhulia & Akola as a guest of Dadasaheb Khaparde; at 5:40 p.m. he left in Dadasaheb’s Victoria carriage followed by a procession of 4,000 people, reached Indra Bhavan Theatre at 7 p.m. where he addressed an assembly of about 3000 on Swadeshi, Swaraj & National Education. Next day, he explained the national song Bande Mataram at Jog’s Square (see Navakishan), later by Virgil & Ovid. Spenser, in his “Colin Clouts come home again” used the name to signify Alice, a daughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorpe. Milton used the name in Lycidas.
Dr. Ambedkar Bhimrao Rāmji (1891-1956) was born to Marathi Mahar (one of the untouchable castes) parents in Mhow (20 miles SE of Indore) who moved to Baroda State to avail of the free compulsory primary education for boys & girls including tribals, backward & untouchable classes introduced in 1893. Bhimrao’s Brahmin teacher, Mahādev Ambedkar, changed his surname Ambavadekar to his own Ambedkar in school records. In 1897 he became the first Dalit to be enrolled at Elphinstone High School, Bombay. In 1907, Sayājirao granted him a monthly scholarship of Rs.50 on passing Matriculation &,in 1912, on passing out with honours from Bombay University in 1912, a four-year scholarship of £11.50 for postgraduate studies in USA & UK. In 1916, at a seminar in London, he read out his thesis on the genesis, mechanisms & development of the castes in India. Testifying before the committee preparing the Govt. of India Act 1919, he argued for creating separate electorates & reservations for untouchables then called Depressed Classes. The Communal Award announced by Britain in August 1932 created separate electorates for Europeans, Muslims, Christians, Anglo-Indians, Sikhs, & Depressed Classes. This led to the Gandhi-Ambedkar Poona Pact on 25 September 1932 creating a Joint Electorate of DCs & all Hindus in which 18% of the seats allotted to Hindus in the Federal (Central Govt.) & 148 seats (against 71 allotted to DCs by Britain) in provincial legislatures, plus reservation in the seats allotted to Hindus in the Civil Services of India. The term Depressed Classes was changed to Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes in the Govt. of India Act 1935 which came into force in 1936, & so carried into the Constitution of India in 1950. The Act of 1935 also amputated Burma from India & gave it a separate constitution, a dismemberment of India’s cultural body over which (wrote Ambedkar in 1940 while advocating the separation of Pakistan in 1940) the INC shed not a tear. In 1950, while justifying the Partition of India, Ambedkar also remarked: “Everybody infers that Islam must be free from slavery & caste…. But if slavery has gone, caste among Mussalmāns has remained.” Though Nehru’s Law Minister (1947-51) & the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly that framed the Constitution of India, while moving for the adoption of the Constitution (as Chairman of the Drafting Committee), Ambedkar warned against hero-worship as it leads to the evil of acquiescing a government by that hero instead of one run by the people themselves.
Ambegavkar Ambegaonkar from Ambé (popular form of goddess Amba) is a surname of the Chandraseniya Kāyastha Prabhu community, a sub-caste of Kshatriyas. The word Chandraseniya derives from the river Chenāb in Kashmir. Chenāb is a corruption of Chandra, its original name; seniya is corruption of the shreni community. In 1305 some 42 Chandraseniya clams settled in Maharashtra.
Amber Ambér, capital of Kachwaha Rajputs ruling Rājputāna in 12th cent. The Rāṇā of Amber joined the national army formed by Rāṇā Saṇga (q.v.) along with the royal armies of Mārwād, Gwālior, Ajmer, Chanderi, & Mahmud Lodi Sultan of Delhi, to prevent the barbaric armies of Babur in 1527. As happened in the cases of almost all Hindu kings facing Islamic Jihadis, almost always the nationalist forces followed the rules of warfare laid down by Dharma & so invariably lost. And when Amber [see Jai Singh] was pitched against Aurangzeb, it was Rathores of Mārwād that came to its help. And worse than the Jihadis were the white Octopus that had only one rule – by hook or crook, by the Sword or the Book – to crush the natives without being touched an iota by their infinitely greater culture.
Amir Ali, Justice Sayyid Amir Ali (1849-1928), the first Indian to be appointed a judge of the Privy Council in England. Founder of the London branch of the All-India Muslim League (1908), he was instrumental in the granting of separate electorates for Muslims in the Govt. of India Act of 1909 (s/a Amritsar). An unyielding loyalist, he resigned from the Muslim League when it became critical of the British Government.
Amitābha Buddha the Buddha of Infinite Light, as he has vowed not to cross over into the Nothingness of Nirvana until a single creature is bound in sorrow & ignorance. He is especially worshipped by Japanese Mahayana Buddhists.
Amours de voyage a long poem of Clough (q.v.), based on a visit to Italy in 1849. It is written in elegiac couplets in hexameter & was published posthumously.
Amphitrite wife of Poseidon (q.v.) & mother of Triton, she was a Nereid (q.v.).
Amreli originally Amaravalli, the Gaikwāds made it the administrative centre of Amreli, one of their five prānts. By 1892, it was one of the eleven cities of Gaikwādi Baroda that had been connected by the State’s railway lines.
Amrita Bazar Patrika started in 1868 by Shishir Ghose & his brothers as a Bengali weekly in their village Amrita Bazar in Jessore, the next year it added columns in English. Shifted to Calcutta in 1871, it continued to be bilingual till March 1878 when, due to Gov.-Gen. Lytton’s Vernacular Press Act, it converted overnight (21 March 1878) into an English weekly (published also for a time from Allahabad). It became a daily from February 1891; shortly thereafter Motilal Ghose (q.v.) became one of the editors. Asked whether it was also an extremist paper during his time in Calcutta, Sri Aurobindo replied: “Never…. It wanted safety first.” [Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, A.B. Purani, 2007, p.570]
Amritsar is the site bestowed on the 4th Guru Ramdas in 1677 by Akbar that grew into the holiest city of the Sikhs. The Montague-Chelmsford (Montford) Reforms of 1918 which included the Lucknow Pact en bloc to exacerbate the Hindu-Muslim divide created by Morley-Minto’s Act of 1909 became Govt. of India Act on 24 Dec. 1919. In spite of the winter rains & cold, Amritsar was chosen by the Congress as that year’s Annual Session as a supreme gesture of defiance against this Act. That session resulted in the crucial-most turning point in Congress history: It rejected nationalist Tilak, till then its most popular leader who preferred the constitutional path to freedom, & accepted as its sole supreme leader Gandhi whose chosen path was dictated by his own doctrines of the moment on every issue – political, social or religious, personal, national or international. Motilal Nehru presided over the session & Arya Samajist leader Swami Shraddhānanda chaired the Reception Committee; 50,000 delegates, guests, visitors & newsmen were packed in the Pandal. Gandhi having made Khilafat one of his twin battle cries, his close associate Shaukat Ali & his brother Mohammed Ali were special invitees. Tilak recognised that the Punjab disturbances, the martial law regime & the Jāllianwāla massacre, which have made men like Sir Sankaran Nair & poet Tagore throw up their jobs & honours, had charged the political atmosphere with a spirit of revolt, but knew that by British bureaucracy, which had already undone the good achieved by the Lucknow Pact by this new Act would intensify its efforts to separate the Muslims & the backward classes from the main current of the national movement. He confided, prophetically, to the journalist Durga Das, that none of the leaders of the time had Gandhi’s mass & leaders liker Motilal Nehru & C.R. Das who sided with Gandhi at the session will rue the day they took up an extreme position to defeat my resolution. They will retrace their steps one day, but by then Gandhi would have grown too powerful for them. He had hoped that in spite of the set back the freedom struggle would have gone faster through responsive cooperation with the Govt. & could have obtained self-government in fifteen years.” [S. Bhattacharya; Durga Das, India from Curzon to Nehru & After, Collins, 1969]
After the Amritsar Congress, Gandhi invited Sri Aurobindo to “come over & help”. But, confided Sri Aurobindo to Motilal Roy in his letter on 2nd Jan.20, “I had to say that I was not ready to join in the old politics & had no new programme formed for a more spiritual line of work, & it would be no use my going out till I saw my way.” [CWSA 36:234-5]
Anabaptist Protestant sect of German origin (1521), it rejects infant baptism, & seeks to establish of a Christian communism.
Anacreon (582-485 BC), lyric poet of Greece; only fragments of his poetry survive.
Anadhrishty son of Vriddhakshema, one of seven Yādava generals.
Anak ancestor of Anakims, giants inhabiting Hebron & its vicinity at the time of the conquest of Canaan.
Annam An Nam or Trung Kỳ means “Pacified South” in Sino-Vietnamese, derived from the Chinese Ānnán. The region was seized by the French by 1884 & with two other Vietnamese regions, Cochin China in the South & Tonkin in the North, became French Indochina in 1887. Nationalist writers adopted the word “Vietnam” in the late 1920s which became its popular name during the revolution of August 1945. In 1949, the three regions were merged to establish the State of Vietnam; the State was divided between communist North & anti-communist South under the terms of the Geneva Accord of 1954.
Ānandagiri annotator of Ādi Shankarāchārya, who preached monistic Vedanta.
Ānandamath by Bankim Chandra Chatterji (1882). “In Bengal the growth of literature made the greatest contribution to the development of national & patriotic feeling during the last quarter of the nineteenth century…. Bankim Chandra Chatterji stands foremost in this connection. His famous novel Ānandamath contains the hymn “Bande Mataram” which had been the national anthem of India up to 1947. During the long & arduous struggle for freedom from 1905 to 1947 Bande Mataram was the rallying cry of the patriotic sons of India, & thousands of them succumbed to the lāthi blow of the British police or mounted the scaffold with Bande Mataram on their lips. The main theme of the novel inspired the Bengali youths to supreme self-sacrifice during the hectic days of the Swadeshi movement. The central plot moves round a band of sannyasins, called santānas or children, who left their hearth & home & dedicated their lives to the cause of their motherland. They worshipped their motherland as the Goddess Kali – they knew no other deity save the land of their birth, & no other religion except the service of their motherland. That is why they called themselves santānas or children of the mother. In their temple they placed three images of the Goddess Kali representing the motherland, – Mother that was, great & glorious in her majestic grandeur; Mother that is, wretched & grovelling in the dust; & the Mother that will be, in her pristine glory. No other Bengali book… so profoundly moved the Bengali youths save perhaps Sarat Chandra’s Pather Dabi written half a century later.” [History of the Freedom Movement in India, R.C. Majumdar, Vol.1, Calcutta, 1963]
Ānanda Mīmāṁsā literally “inquiry into the nature of bliss”.
Anandarao eldest of the three Jādhav brothers Sri Aurobindo knew when he was in Baroda. They were relatives of Sayājirao. See Khāserao & Madhavrao.
Ananias member of the Christian Church at Jerusalem; he & his wife Sapphira were struck dead for misrepresenting the amount of their gifts to the Saint Peter.
Ananke personification of Compelling Necessity or Ultimate Fate to which even the gods must yield. She was sister of Themis (q.v.).
Ananta Śeṣa Nāga, the Great Snake with a thousand hoods on which the earth stands; the Energy of the Infinite in Space-Time. Traditionally, Lord Vishnu is envisioned as reclining on the coils of Ananta, accompanied by his consort Devi Lakshmi, as he “dreams the universe into reality”.
Anasūya (1) Anasūya, wife of Rishi Gautama, Yogini with spiritual & occult powers. (2) In Kālidāsa’s Abhijñāna Śākuntalam, friend of Shakuntalā.
Anathema Maranatha Christian decree of excommunication: anathema ‘accursed’ in Greek, + Maranatha Aramaic for “The Lord is at hand” or “Come, Lord”.
Anaximander (610-547 BC) Greek thinker.
Anaximenes of Miletus (c.545 BC), Greek naturalist who taught that the single substance of the universe was Air; all other elements were produced by different degrees of its rarefication or condensation, thus earth was a flat disk floating in Air.
Anchises a Trojan prince. His liaison with Aphrodite on Mt. Ida resulted in the birth of Aeneas. Though forbidden to speak of it, he boasted of it to his friends & was blinded or lamed. After Troy fell, he fled with Aeneas & eventually founded Rome.
Ancient Mariner The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge.
Ancient Wisdom a book on Theosophy by Annie Besant.
Āndāl Tamil Vaishnava saint (c.8th cent.), putative daughter of Periya-Alwār (q.v.); popularly remembered for her Tiruppāvai.
Hans Andersen (1805-75), Danish poet & novelist world-famous for his fairy tales.
Andhra Keshari nationalist weekly published from Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh.
Rev. Andrews Charles Freer (1871-1940), English by birth, he made India his adopted home. Apart from being a professor at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, he was a social reformer who became known as Dinabandhu. An associate of Tagore, he accompanied the Poet to Japan, etc. He was also connected with Tilak (q.v.).
Andromeda poem in hexameter by Charles Kingsley.
Aṇgah kingdom donated by Duryodhana to Karṇa. The region comprising present Bengal is considered to have been part of Karṇa’s kingdom.
Aṇgirā one of the six sons of Brahmā; father of Bhrihaspati.
Aṇgiras(a) one of the Prajāpatis; mentioned in all the Vedas, esp. Atharva Veda, which was dictated to him & Atharvān. His wife Sūrūpā gave birth to three sons: Uṭathya, Samvartana & Bhrihaspati. He is also one of the Saptarishis in the first Manvantara along with Marichi, Atri, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, & Vasishtha. Aṇgirāsa represents Seer-Will & is the progenitor of a clan of Rishis that went by his name, referred to by Sri Aurobindo as the Aṇgirāsa or the Aṇgirāsa Rishis who symbolise the seven powers of Agni, the seven lustres of his Light, the divine & human types of the Seer-Will. The word Aṇgiras(a) is used in the Veda not merely as a name of the family (Aṇgirasas/ Aṇgirasa Rishis), but with a distinct meaning inherent in the word, & when used in the sense of “relating to Aṇgiras”, or as a patronymic from Aṇgiras, it is pronounced Aṇgiras(a). [See GD’s Glossary & Index…, 1989:15]
Aniruddha son of Pradyumna & grandson of Sri Krishna; his marriage to Usha, the daughter of the Asura king Bāṇāsura the most formidable enemy of his family, brought about the Asura’s death. “Symbolically, Aniruddha is the fourth Power of the Chaturvyuha, with desire as His manifestation, & bodily enjoyment & worldly reason as His attributes; He reigns in the Kaliyuga & as a Śūdra. His characteristic is perfection in works; & His Shakti is Mahāsaraswati.” [SABCL Vol. 3:452-53; s/a Yuga(s)]
Aṇjanā wife of Vāyu, God of the Wind, hence her son Hanumān is called Āṇjaneya.
Annadamangal principal poetic work of Bharatachandra.
Annapurna the Supreme Mother’s aspect of Giver of Anna (food).
Queen Anne (1665-1714) of England, Scotland, Ireland, & later Great Britain.
Antaeus son of Poseidon, who derived fresh strength whenever he touched the earth (Gaea, his mother). Antaeus compelled all strangers who passed his country to wrestle with him & thus killed them all until Hercules overcame him by lifting him in the air.
Antariksha/ Antariksha(m) the Mid-Region, between Heaven & Earth; the plane of the Gāndharvas, Apsarās, & Yakshas.
Antenor a counsellor of Troy who, during the siege, hosted the Greek envoys & advised his king to return of Helen to them. This was seen by Trojans as traitorous.
Antenorid descendants of Antenor.
Antichrist/ Antéchrist antagonist of Christ, expected to spread universal evil before the end of the world but finally to be conquered by Christ in his second coming. [See Lucifer]
Antigone daughter of Oedipus. She followed her father in banishment & disgrace. After her brothers, Eteocles & Polynices, were killed in the war of the Seven Against Thebes, Creon, regent of Thebes, forbade the burial of Polynices. Antigone, in spite of his command, performed the funeral service for her brother. Creon buried her alive. The story is told by Sophocles, the Athenian poet, in Oedipus at Colonus & Antigone.
Antigonus Antigonus I Monophthalmus (382-301 BC), Macedonian general under Alexander, who founded the Macedonian dynasty of the Antigonids. A brilliant strategist & astute ruler, he cultivated the friendship of Athens & other Greek city-states. During the coalition war (310-301 BC) against him, his son Demetrius Poliorcetes conquered Cyprus & Antigonus assumed the title of king.
Antioch ancient capital of Syria; a fraction of it survives as Antioch in SE Turkey.
Antiochus Antiochus III, king of Syria (223-187 BC).
Mark Antony Marcus Antonius (82-30 BC), associate of Julius Caesar, famed as lover & ally of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.
Antony & Cleopatra tragedy by Shakespeare.
Anu in the Veda, a devotee of Indra, for whom he made a chariot, mentioned as an enemy of Sudas (q.v.).
Anushilan Samiti started by Satish Chandra Bose in 1902 with P. Mitra) as it head, in Calcutta & Dacca as an association for lāthi-play & physical culture. Its name was taken from a book by Bankim Chandra. Its branches quickly spread all over Bengal, but eventually the Dacca branch became its most successful centre. The British banned it in October 1909 on the basis of ‘evidence’ compiled by its resourceful CID in May 1908.
Anasūya a town on the banks of the Narmadā, just downriver from Chāndod.
Anwar probably Enver Pāshā (1881-1922), Ottoman general & commander-in-chief, a hero of the 1908 Young Turk Revolution; one of the triumvirate that virtually ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1918.
Apaya river flowing between Dhrishadvati & Saraswati, identified with the Ganga as Āpagā or as a tributary of the Saraswati which flowed past Thāneshwar [s/a Harsha, Huns, Md. Ghazni], sacred to Lord Shiva, north of Indraprastha the capital of the Kurus, between Ambālā & Karnal. Thāneshwar was at the centre of Brahmavarta [see Aryavarta].
Apelles Hellenistic Greek painter regarded as the greatest of his time.
Aphrodite Olympian goddess of love, beauty, & fertility; in Homer daughter of Zeus & Dione in Homer. The story of Aphrodite rising from the sea is as follows: In response to the appeal of Gaea, Cronus castrated his father Uranus with a scimitar as he approached Gaea. From the drops of blood that fell upon her were born the Erinnyes, the Giants, & the ash-tree nymphs called the Meliai. The severed genitals floated on the sea, producing a white foam from which sprang Aphrodite. She married Hephaestus but she loved Ares to whom she bore Eros & Anteros. In the dispute over the Apple of Discord, Paris judged her the fairest, & so she helped him in carrying off Helen from Sparta. This brought on the Trojan War in which she sided with the Trojans. In Roman times Aphrodite was identified with Venus.
Apis classical Greek form of Hape or Hapi, the sacred Egyptian bull worshipped at Memphis; protector of the sign ‘Jar’ in the European zodiac.
Apollo son of Zeus & Leto; god of light, music, poetry, prophecy, medicine, pastoral pursuits & archery; his chief oracle was at Delphi. In later times he was frequently identified with Helios (q.v., cf. Phoebus). With Poseidon, he built the walls of Troy for Laomedan, & despite Laomedon’s treachery sided the Trojans in the war.
Apollo Bunder pier built in an area reclaimed by the British administration around 1900 in order to build the Gateway of India designed to welcome King George V (1865-1936) who visited India in 1911. It was an important pier for embarkation & disembarkation of passengers & goods in the city of Bombay in the late 19th cent. The name, derived from the Palla fish that were sold at this spot in old times, corrupted to the Portuguese Pollem, thence to the English Apollo, is still used today instead of Wellington Pier.
Apollonius of Rhodes Apollonius Rhodius (b.295 BC), Greek poet & grammarian of Alexandra & Rhodes, who wrote the Argonautica, an epic in four books, a Homeric imitation on the story of the Argonaut heroes.
Appian Way highway from Rome to Greece & the East, built in 312 BC under Appius Claudius Caccus.
Apte Vāmana Shivaram (1858-92), lexicographer of Sanskrit, who wrote or compiled as many as six books, including dictionaries that are still in use.
Apuliam of Apulia (also known as Puglia), a coastal region of south Italy.
Arab/ Arabia Prior to the rise of Muhammad & the unification of the tribes of Arabia under Islam, Arabs followed a pre-Islamic Arab polytheism, lived as self-governing sedentary nomadic tribes that often raided neighbouring ones. Following the early Muslim conquests of the Arabian Peninsula, the region became unified & most of the tribes adopted Islam.
Andre Wink: In 653-4 AD…a force of 6000 Arabs penetrated… [up] to the shrine of Zun in Gāndhāra (q.v.).… Slaves & beasts remained the principal booty of the raids, & these were sent to the caliphate court in a steady stream.” &re Wink describes that this aspiration to conquer India had existed since the time of the Prophet, as is evidenced by the sacred texts: In the hadith collections the prophet Muhammad himself is credited with the aspiration of conquering India. Participants in the holy war against al-Hind are promised to be saved from hell-fire. And the Kitāb al-Fitān (Book of Trials) credits Muhammad with saying that God will forgive the sins of the members of the Muslim army which will attack al-Hind, & give them victory. The plunder was also achieved by an ingenious system of leaving the prosperous population alone, so that they would continue to bring donations to the temples, & then the Muslims would loot these temples. In order to save their temple from destruction, many Hindu warriors refused to fight: An even greater part of the revenue of these rulers was derived from the gifts donated by pilgrims who came from all over Sind & Hind to the sun-temple at Multan. The possession of the sun-temple – rather than the mosque – is what in later times the geographers see as the reason why the local Muhammedan governors or rulers could hold out against the neighbouring Hindu powers. Whenever an ‘infidel king’ marched against Multan & the Muslims found it difficult to offer adequate resistance, they threatened to break the idol or mutilate it, & this, allegedly, made the enemy withdraw. In the late tenth century however the Ismailis who occupied Multan broke the idol into pieces & killed its priests. A new mosque was then erected on its site.
R.C. Majumdar et al: Under the successors of Prophet Muhammad, called Khalifās or Caliphs, who led the Faithful from c.632, the arms of the Moslems advanced in all directions & the banner of Islam floated over many countries from Iran to Spain. From the beginning the Arabs had their eyes on the rich ports of Western India & the outlying parts of the north-west borderland. In c.637 an army was sent to Kanheri (Thana near Bombay). This was followed by expeditions to Bharuch, the Gulf of Debal (in Sindh), & Al-Kikan (the district round Kelāt). About the middle of the 7th century, the satrapy of Zaranj in southern Afghanistan fell into the hands of the Arabs. The turn of Makran in Baluchistan came next. The Arabs now made repeated onslaughts on the Shah of Kabul, supposed to be a descendant of the great Kanishka (q.v.), & the Ratbil of Zābulī in the upper valley of the Helmand River & some adjoining districts. The latter succumbed after a brave struggle (AD870). The Turkī Shāhīya kings of Kabul maintained a precarious existence till the closing of the 9th century when they were supplanted by Kallār, usually identified with Lalliya, the founder of the Hindu Shāhīya (Shaiva) dynasty of Udabhandapura (Waihand, Ohind or Und on the Sindhu). …. Meanwhile, the Arabs had followed up their success in Baluchistan by the conquest of Sindh. That province figures in the narrative of Bāṇa (q.v.) as one of the territories overrun by Prabhākarvardhana & his more famous son, Harsha (q.v.). In the days of Hiuen Tsang (AD 600-04) the throne was occupied by a Śūdra dynasty which gave way to a Brāhmaṇa family founded by Chach. Dāhar or Dāhir, son of Chach, was on the throne when al-Hajjaj, governor of Irāk, incensed at the action of certain pirates of Debal, sent several expeditions to Sindh. The earlier incursions were repulsed by Dāhir. Thereupon al-Hajjaj entrusted the work of punishing the Indian king of his nephew & son-in-law, Muhammad ibn-Kāsim. The young commander stormed Debal, captured Nerun & some other cities & strongholds, & pushed on to the western bank of the Sindhu. His work was greatly facilitated by the treachery of certain Buddhist priests & renegade chiefs who deserted their sovereign & joined the invader. With the assistance of these traitors, Muhammad crossed the vast sheet of Sindhu’s waters separating his army from that of Dahir & fell upon the Indian ruler near Raor (AD 712) [Rohri Aror in author’s map on p.176-77 in Op. Cit.]. Dahir offered a brave resistance, but was defeated & killed. The fort of Raor fell next after a heroic defence by the widowed queen. The invaders now pushed on the Bāhmanābād & Alor, which submitted. The turn of Multan came next. The whole of lower Sindhu valley was now dominated by the Arabs. But the invaders had no mind to stop there. Already in the time of Muhammad ibn-Kāsim minor operations were carried on in the neighbouring provinces. A later governor, Junaid or Junayd, pursued a more aggressive policy…. The immense wealth of Gujarat, due particularly to active commerce through the rich ports of Khambhāt, Surat, & Bharūch, drew upon itself (sic) hostile invasions. The Arab governor of Sindh & Multan sent expeditions which, according to Indian inscriptions, included Sindh, Cutch, Anārta (Kāṭhiāwād, west Gujarat) Saurāshtra (south Gujarat), Chavoṭaka (a Chāpa principality of Gujarat or western Rājputāna), a Maurya principality apparently in south Rājputāna or Mālwā, & the Gurjara territory apparently round Bhinmal or Bharūch. A feudatory Chālukya chieftain, belonging to a junior branch of the royal line [see Chālukyas] stationed in South Gujarat, distinguished himself in a struggle with the formidable Tājikas, who are identified with the Arabs of Sind. And the progress of the Arabs was stopped in south by the Chālukyas in the south, in the east by the Pratihāras (north-west Rajasthan), & in the north by the Karkotas (north-west India). The Hindus of the age lacked the invigorating & dynamic influence of the new motivation that was then moving vast hordes of Mohammedans in Western & Central Asia.
[André Wink: quoted by Rajiv Malhotra in “How Gāndhāra became Qandahār”, Infinity Foundation; R.C. Majumdar et al, Advanced History of India: 168-9, 171-72, 405-06, 411-12; s/a D.I.H.: 59-60.]
Arabia poem by Walter de la Mare.
Arabian Nights The Arabian Nights Entertainment.
Arācan the ancient kingdom was visited by merchants from southern India long before Alexandrian geographer Ptolemy arrived in 1st century CE & named it ‘Argyre’, the land of silver. Chinese Buddhist pilgrims of 7th century knew it & the area of east Bengal within its cultural sphere as A-li-ki-lo or Harikela. Burmese inscriptions of Pagan & Ava from the 12th to 15th centuries refer to it as ‘Rakhaing’, Tibetan historians ‘Rakhan’, & Sri Lankan chronicles ‘Rakhanga’. 15th century Portuguese explorers-traders-raiders called it ‘Rachani’ & ‘Arākān’, & were followed in this by the later Dutch, since the English preferred ‘Arākān’ that became the sole authorised name. Arākān’s heartland was in its north, based on the rich alluvial flood plains of the adjoining Kaladan & Lemro valleys. The earliest cities were in the Kaladan valley, backed by hills & facing west, & were thus open to influence from India & beyond. Subsequently cities were founded west of the Lemro River, more accessible to Myanmar proper.... For much of its turbulent history, Arākān played a pivotal role in the exchange of cultures & religions between India & Southeast Asia. From the early centuries Arākān was ruled by kings who adopted Hindu titles & traditions to suit their own environment. Brahmins conducted the royal ceremonial, Buddhist monks spread their teachings, traders came & went & artists & architects used Hindu models for inspiration. In the later period, Islamic courts of Bengal & Delhi imposed their influence. As an important centre for trade & as a goal of Buddhist pilgrims it was also the recipient of influence from other cultural centres in Southeast Asia. But the peoples of Arākān, like their counterparts elsewhere in the region, also followed older traditions connected with their land & the spirits which guarded it. Many of these still survive in fertility & spirit cults, or have been absorbed into the Buddhist Pantheon. In 1784 Arākān was conquered by Burma. This territorial expansion so near Bengal, was one of the excuses used by the Octopus to invade Burma in 1824 & two years later Arākān was among the territories ceded to it.
Arachne girl whom Athene turned into a spider for having challenged her to a trial of skill in weaving; hence Greek for all arthropods, i.e. spiders, scorpions, mites, etc.
Aramaean Aramaeans were a confederacy of tribes that spoke a North Semitic language & occupied Aram (11-8th cent BC) a large region in northern Syria. In the same period some of these tribes seized large tracts of Mesopotamia.
Aranyaka(s) Brāhmaṇas or expositions of the Vedas linking them to the Upanishads. They explain the inner meaning of the yajña performed by rishis.
Aranyani goddess of the wilderness & desert (Sutras 1-6, Rig-Veda, Mandala X).
AraratMountain on which Noah’s Ark came to rest at the end of the Flood; an extinct volcano in east Turkey with two peaks, Great Ararat & Little Ararat.
Arcadia/ Arcady region of ancient Greece in Peloponnesus Mountains.
Archer, William (1856-1924), a Scottish critic, born in Perth. He became a leader-writer on the Edinburgh Evening News in 1875 & obtained an M.A. at University of Edinburgh in 1876. In 1879, he moved to London where he remained until 1905, working as a dramatic critic for the London Figaro & in 1884 of The World. He introduced Ibsen to the English public by his translation of The Pillars of Society, produced at the Gaiety Theatre in London in 1880. During the First European War (1914-19), he wrote a series of open letters on behalf of Wellington House, arguing Germany’s culpability in starting the conflict. He viewed the Allies (including England) as innocent bystanders, forced into defending the world against German militancy. Justifying equally effectively the same innocent bystanders having been forced into defending the civilised world against a greater peril, he wrote India & the Future [Hutchinson & Co., London, 1917]. In response, Sir John Woodroffe (q.v.) published Is India Civilised – Essays on Indian Culture, Ganesh & Co., Madras, 1918.
Archimedes (287-212 BC), Greek mathematician, physicist, & inventor. To illustrate the principle of the lever he is said to have told King Hiero, “Give me a place to stand (pou sto), & I will move the world.”
Arctic Home (in the Vedas) published in 1903 by Lōkamānya Tilak, the first manuscript of which says his preface, was written at the end of 1898. It propounded the theory that the North Pole was the original home of Aryans during pre-glacial period which they had to leave due to the ice deluge around 8000 BC, & migrate to northern Europe & Asia.
A. Rangaswami Aiyengar, Editor Swadeshamitram, Madras: I well remember the day, when we boarded together the ill-fated Macedonia at Tilbury England on our return voyage home in November 1919 after a Congress deputation [sent to influence the Montague-Chelmsford Report] that brought the country not much good.... It was a wintry day, but the inclemency of the weather was as nothing compared to the cold & truculent attitude which our European fellow passengers...showed at first to our great leader who with precision & self-restraint which extorted admiration on board the ship assumed his seat on the deck every morning & pursued his slow & stately walks in the course of the day.... Among the many expedients that the passengers invented...was a programme of discourses & lectures by some of the European passengers…. Having regard to the very large number of Indian passengers on board, the usefulness of asking some of them to address the goodly company on board the ship…was suggested to the organisers…. [We asked] them to request Lōkamānya & Mr B.C. Pal among others.... Mr Pal first addressed them on one day & the impression he produced induced our European fellow-passengers to ask us again that he may be induced to address them. We eventually persuaded the Lōkamānya but he insisted upon addressing on a non-political subject & we of course asked him to tell his audience something of the epoch making researches he had made regarding the Arctic Home in the Vedas. He readily agreed & his audience full of Europeans of quality were wondering what they were going to pick up from the abstruse discourse that would be made. Nevertheless they gathered in full strength at least to know what the power of speech of this slim man was, that kept so many administrators & authorities in awe & fear as against millions of his fellow countrymen that adored him. Mr Tilak began punctually at the appointed time & in an absolutely unconcerned manner-of-fact way. Without preliminaries & without apologies of any kind, he began to expound to his audience, archaeological, geological, historical & philosophical secrets that lay within the compass of the Vedas. In clear, short & simple sentences he unfolded the tale of the Vedic Man’s Arctic Home to an audience that found the mysteries of research solved with so little effort. There was not a single personal note in the discourse although the Lōkamānya described the logical processes & the lengthy researches by which he had arrived at conclusions that then seemed to his audience so simple & self-evident. He first of all traced the Greek tradition of Orion & also the Hindu tradition as to Mriga-Shirsha. He demonstrated their identity & referred to the mathematical calculation by which the time when a year began with the Sun in the constellation of Orion must be somewhere before 4000 B.C. carrying his researches further, as he did during the days of his captivity in Burma, he showed how this deductive conclusion was confirmed by the latest discovery in geology & archaeology. The theory of the original ancestral home of the Aryan races being in the North Pole, was also, confirmed by the astrological phenomenon which, he said, was recorded in the Vedas & in the Mahabharata & which is distinctly Polar in character. The six months’ day & six months’ night spoken of in the sacred books & the continuance of the dawn for two months as described in the Yajurveda, pointed clearly to this Asiatic Home & he referred to the evidence of geologists & archaeologists on this matter. He also demonstrated by mathematical calculations how the astronomical phenomena thus disclosed should take us to a period at least 4000 years before the birth of Christ. The Lōkamānya went from point to point, from conclusion to conclusion with the precision of a mathematician that he was without notes & without references of any kind; he had not brought any with him at all. The audience by this time became intensely interested & spell-bound. No wonder at the conclusion thereof the ICS Commissioner of U.P. who presided, paid a glowing tribute to the scholar that had enlightened them with such wealth of learning & simplicity of diction. From that day forwards Lōkamānya was the cynosure of all thinking Europeans on board the ship, & it was not unfamiliar sight to see him engaged with one or other of them in earnest conversation about many things, scientific, literary & political.... [Reminiscences & Anecdotes of Lōkamānya Tilak, edited & published by S.V. Bāpat, Poona, 1924]
Ardhoday(a) Yog(a) concurrence of a particular day in the month of Pauśa or Māgha (Dec-Jan-Feb) with the constellation Shrāvaṇa that takes place in the daytime at long & irregular intervals. Owing to its immense occult influence, equal to that of thousands of solar eclipses, the devout bathe or take a dip one of India’s holy rivers.
Areopagus hill NW of Acropolis of Athens, meeting place of the earliest aristocratic council of the city. The name was later extended to denote the council itself.
Ares son of Zeus & Hera, god of war, lover of Aphrodite, father of the Amazon queen Penthesilea, he favoured the Trojans. He is identified as the Roman Mars.
Arethuse poetic form of Arethusa, the nymph loved by the river-god Alpheus. She fled his attentions but Alpheus pursued & caught her; whence the story that the waters of the river Alpheus flow beneath the sea from Greece to reappear in the fountain of Arethusa in the harbour of Syracuse.
Argolis region of ancient Greece in NE Peloponnesus, including Argive plain & cities of Argos & Mycenae. Argive denotes Grecian or Greek.
Argos ancient Greek city in Peloponnesus, at the foot of the Mycenaean & classical acropolis called Larissa, in southern part of the Argive plain, three miles from the sea, it was the principal centre of the worship of Hera. For centuries it struggled with Sparta, rivalling
Athens & Corinth. It was the kingdom of Diomedes, who acknowledged Agamemnon’s leadership in the Trojan War. But in Homer Argos is the empire of Agamemnon & practically a synonym for Greece.
Argus or Panoptes; people of ancient Argos traced their origin to him. He became the 100-eyed guardian of Io, the princess of Argos after she was changed into a heifer. The term Argus has come to mean a very vigilant person, a watcher or guardian.
Ariosto, Ludovico (1474-1533), Italian epic & lyric poet & playwright.
Aristides (died c.468 BC), Athenian statesman & general, called Aristides the Just.
Aristophanes (448-388 BC), Athenian poet & writer of comedy.
Ārjuni Abhimanyu as son of Arjūna. Arjūna means the White One
Armageddon battlefield where, at the end of world history, the kings of the Earth allied under demoniac leadership will wage war on the forces of God.
Armstrong John (1709-79), physician, author of The Art of Preserving Health.
Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904), English poet, best known for his The Light of Asia, a blank verse epic on the life of the Buddha.
Arnold, Matthew (1822-88), English poet, critic who tackled literature, theology, history, art, science, & politics.
Artemis daughter of Zeus & Leto & twin sister of Apollo; a virgin huntress sometimes identified with the moon. In Sri Aurobindo’s Ilion she is a power of the future &, with her lightning-tasselled sandals, represents the swift & luminous faculty of Intuition.
Arthur Arthur I (1187-1203?), Duke of Brittany, grandson of King Henry II of England. In Shakespeare’s tragedy King John, he is Duke of Brittanie, son of Geoffrey, late Duke of Brittanie, the elder brother of King John.
Arundhati wife of Vasishtha, a sati or epitome of conjugal excellence.
Āryabhatta (476-550), astronomer & mathematician, Father of Algebra.
Āryama(n) in Vedas, one of the four powers of the Truth of Surya; he represents the immortal puissance of the clear-discerning aspiration & endeavour. He is generally classed among the Ādityas & the Vishwadevas.
Ārya Samāj a social-reform body founded by Swami Dayānanda Saraswati in 1875 to re-establish the Vedas as a living religious scripture. He rejected all later accretions to the Vedas as degenerate. . It has done a great deal of social & educational work, especially in Punjab & Uttar Pradesh. The Arya Samāj greatly stemmed the tide of conversion of Hindus to other religions, & reclaimed converted people to the fold of Hinduism & contributed to the eventual growth of Indian nationalism by teaching the Hindus that, irrespective of the divisions into castes & existence of different social practises, they were an integrated people.
His ideals are practised at the Gurukūla founded at Hardwar which was raised in 1907 to the status of a University teaching through Sanskrit as the medium of instruction.
Āryavarta/ Āryabhumi/ Āryaland/ Āryasthān regions from the Himalayas to Kanyā Kumari, the immortal nation of the strong, great & lofty spirited Arya(n)s. “The sub-continent of India, stretching from the Himalayas to the sea, is known to Hindus as Bhārata-Varsha or the land of King Bharata. It was said to form part of a larger unit called Jambu-dwipa which was considered to be the innermost of seven concentric island-continents into which the earth, as conceived by Hindu cosmographers, was supposed to have been divided. Early Buddhist evidence suggests that Jambu-dwipa was a territorial designation actually in use from 3rd century BC at the latest, & was applied to that part of Asia, outside China, throughout which the prowess of the great imperial family of the Mauryas made itself felt…. In ancient law-books the term Āryavarta is the whole of the vast territory lying between the Himalayas & the Vindhyās & extending from the western to the eastern sea. To the north of the Madhya-deśa, beyond Pahoa, lay Uttarāpatha or Udīchya (NW India), to its west Aparānta or Prāchitya (Western India), to its south Dakshīnapatha or Dakshīna (corrupted to Dukkhan to Decca), & to its east Purva-deśa or Prāchya. To these five primary divisions, the Puranas sometimes add two others, the Parva-āśrayin or Himalayan tract, & the Vindhyan region.” [An Advanced History of India; pp. 3-5]
Ascent to Earth of the Daughter of Hades poem by George Meredith.
Ashe, Robert William d’Escourt (1872-1911) born in Denegal, Ireland, studied at Dublin High School; 40th of 61 who passed ICS Entrance Exam in 1892, he entered Trinity College, Dublin, & began his career in 1895 as an Asst. Collector of Tuticorin, Madras Presidency. In 1907-08, fearing another 1857, the British arrested all prominent nationalist leaders inflicting harshest possible penalties. In Tamil Nadu, they wrecked Swadeshi Steam Navigation Co. started by V.O. Chidambaram Pillai & his colleagues. Pillai & Subramanian Shiva, who also delivered a speech advocating absolute Swaraj, were arrested on the 12th of March. The next day a riot broke out in Tinnevelly. Many public buildings were attacked & partially burnt, while furniture & records were set on fire. Revolutionary ideas were preached in public meetings & in newspapers. Nilakantha Brahmachari (q.v.) started a secret association called the Bhāratha-Mātha Association. He was soon joined by Vanchināthan (Sankaran) Aiyar of Shencotta, Travancore. Vanchi (1886-1911) had passed M.A. from M.T. Maharaja College in Thiruvananthapuram & was working as a clerk in the Travancore Forest Department. In December 1910, V.V.S. Aiyar, a follower of V.D. Sāvarkar at the India House, London, arrived in Pondicherry. He started revolver practice for these revolutionaries. Vanchi suggested the Mr Ashe should be first killed as he had taken a leading part in the events of 1908. On 17th June 1911 Ashe, Collector & Dist. Magistrate of Tirunelveli, was shot dead at Maniyachi railway junction by Vanchi who committed suicide minutes after. (The railway station has since been renamed Vanchi Maniyachi.) A letter in Tamil found on Vanchi’s body “stated that every Indian was trying to drive out the English & that 3000 Madrasis had taken a vow to kill George V as soon as he landed in the country. To make known their intentions to others, he, Vanchi, the least in the company, had done that deed.” This led to the Tinnevelly Conspiracy Case in which nine persons were declared guilty of conspiracy against the State.
Ashōka/ Asoca/ Aśoka (ruled c.273 to c.232 BC). The successor of Chandragupta Maurya was his son Bindusāra Amitraghāta (destroyer of enemies). Tradition credits him with the suppression of a revolt in Takshashilā. His empire must have embraced not only the greater part of Northern India but also a considerable portion of South India. In foreign affairs he maintained the friendly relations with the Hellenic West established by his father. He was eager to secure the services of a Greek sophist but Greek laws didn’t permit him. Of his many sons & daughters, Ashōka, seems to have held successively the important viceroyalties of Takshashilā & Ujjain. When Bindusāra emperor fell sick Asoka came to Pātaliputra, the imperial capital. According to tradition Asoka suppressed another revolt in Takshashilā, & was solemnly enthroned at Pātaliputra four years after the death of Bindusāra. Eight years later he conquered the kingdom of Kalinga which embraced the major part of Puri, Ganjam & some adjoining tracts. That conquest the Maurya Empire stretched from the land of the Yonas, Kambōja in the east & Gāndhāra in the Kabul valley & some adjoining territories in the west, down to the land of the Andhrās in the Godavari Krishna basin & the district (Āhāra) of Isila in north Mysore, & from Sopāra & Gīrnār in the west to Dhauli & Jaugaḍa in the east. In the north-west the empire touched the realm of Antiochos II, the Greek king of Syria & Western Asia, & in the south it extended as far as the kingdom of the Cholās, Pāṇdyās, Satiyaputra, & Keralaputra in South India. According to tradition Asoka’s empire also included the secluded vales of Kashmir & Nepal as well as the riparian plains of Puṇḍravardhana (North Bengal) & Samataṭa (East Bengal). ― The Kalinga war proved a turning-point in the career of Asoka & produced results of far-reaching consequence in the history of India & of the whole world. The sight of misery & bloodshed in the Kalinga campaign smote the emperor’s conscience & awakened in his breast sincere feelings of repentance & sorrow. It made Asoka intensely devoted to the practice of Dharma, the love of Dharma & the instruction of the people in Dharma. He eschewed military conquest involving slaughter & deportation of people & evolved a policy of dharma-vijaya, ‘conquest by piety’ in place of the old conquest by bows & arrows. But with all his zeal for Buddhism, Asoka never became an enemy of any other religious fraternity, never sought to impose his sectarian belief on others but showed extreme solicitude for their welfare & extended his patronage to also the communities of Jainas & Ājivikas, the followers of Gosāla. Asoka organised missions for spiritual conquest of three continents, & turned the local sect in the Ganges valley into a world religion. He sent Buddhist missionaries to western Asia, northern Africa & south-eastern Europe, there is no doubt that even long after Asoka, people in Alexandria showed interest in Buddhism, & that both Buddhist & Brāhmaṇical religion were widely prevalent in several countries of western Asia before the advent of Islam. The knowledge of Indian philosophy & literature in the West is also an undoubted fact. His Hellenistic contemporaries were Antiochos (II of Theos of Syria, c.261-246BC), Ptolemy (II, Philadelphos of Egypt, 285-247 BC), Magas (of Cyrene, c.300-258BC), & Alexander (of Epirus, 272-239BC, or, as some say, of Corinth, 252-244BC). He maintained friendly relations with the Greek kings of Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, & Epirus; & established philanthropic institutions in the realms of some if these princes. Buddhism doubtless made some progress in western Asia & influenced later sects like the Manicheans, but the Greeks were not much impressed by lessons on non-violence. Within a few years of his death, Greek battalions, esp. from Bactria, poured once more into the Kabul valley, the Punjab & even the Gangetic region; & threw all these provinces into confusion. [Advanced History of India, R.C. Majumdar et al; pp. 94-96, 98- 99; 101; 103; 128; 203]
Ashwala (Uswal) Hotri priest of Janaka, king of Videha, who appears as an authority in the Brihadāranyaka Upanishad.
Aśwalayana founder of a Śākhā of the Rig Veda.
As(h)wamedha ‘Horse-Sacrifice’, performed to establish supreme sovereignty over all earth. Symbolically, it is the offering one’s vital with all its powers, impulses, desires, enjoyments, to the Divine to master one physical nature.
Ashwamedha (Bharata) Vedic Rishi, a descendant of Bharat, the king of the Chandra Vamsha dynasty after whom the Aryavarta became Bhāratavarsha.
As(h)wattha/ Aśvattha/ Uswuttha fig-tree which symbolises cosmic manifestation.
As(h)watthama/ Ashwatthāma son of Drōṇa, & one of Duryodhana’s generals. He was cursed to live forever for having murdered the sleeping sons of the Pandavas.
As(h)wins/ Uswins ‘Riders on the Steed of Life’, the twin gods of Vedas. They are beneficent powers of Truth whose special function is to perfect the nervous & vital being to act as instruments of divine action bringing right enjoyment.
Asita descendant of Rishi Kashyapa, also called Devala or Asita Devala.
Asius Trojan warrior, son of Dymas & brother of Hecuba.
Aspasia mistress of Pericles, renowned for her learning, wit, & beauty.
Aspromonte mountainous region in south Italy, 25 kilometres from Reggio. Here, in 1862, Garibaldi leading a volunteer corps against Rome, suffered defeat at the hands of the Italian army sent by King Emmanuel II under fear of international intervention.
Asquith Lord Herbert Henry (1852-1928); Liberal M.P. (1886-1918, 1920-24); Prime Minister (1908-16), responsible for the Parliament Act of 1911 which limited the power of the House of Lords, & leader of Britain during the first two years of World War I. He was created Earl in 1925.
(The) As(h)ram of Sri Aurobindo & the Mother:
Sri Aurobindo: My Yoga is done not for myself who need nothing & do not need salvation or anything else, but precisely for the earth consciousness, to open a way to the earth consciousness to change. [CWSA 35:405]
– The Way: First be sure of the call & of thy soul’s answer. For if the call is not true, not the touch of God’s powers or the voice of his messengers, but the lure of thy ego, the end of thy endeavour will be a poor spiritual fiasco or else a deep disaster…. Imagine not the way is easy…. At every step is an ambush, at every turn a pitfall. A thousand seen or unseen enemies will start up against thee, terrible in subtlety against thy ignorance, formidable in power against thy weakness…. Thou shalt find thyself alone in thy anguish, the demons furious in thy path, the Gods unwilling above thee. Ancient & powerful, cruel, unvanquished & close & innumerable are the dark & dreadful Powers that profit by the reign of Night & Ignorance & would have no change & are hostile. .... But thou sayst God’s hand will be with me & the Divine Mother near with her gracious smile of succour? And thou knowest not then that God’s Grace is more difficult to have or to keep than the nectar of the Immortals or Kubera’s priceless treasures? .... Beautiful is the face of the Divine Mother, but she too can be hard & terrible. Nay, then, is immortality a plaything to be given lightly to a child, or the divine life a prize without effort or the crown for a weakling? Strive rightly & thou shalt have; trust & thy trust shall in the end be justified; but the dread Law of the Way is there & none can abrogate it. [SABCL 17:39-40]
– All would change if man could once consent to be spiritualised; but his nature, mental & vital & physical, is rebellious to the higher law…. Each religion has helped mankind. Paganism increased in man the light of beauty, the largeness & height of his life, his aim at a many-sided perfection; Christianity gave him some vision of divine love & charity; Buddhism has shown him a noble way to be wiser, gentler, purer; Judaism & Islam how to be religiously faithful in action & zealously devoted to God; Hinduism has opened to him the largest & profoundest spiritual possibilities. A great thing would be done if all these God-visions could embrace & cast themselves into each other; but intellectual dogma & cult-egoism stand in the way. – All religions have saved a number of souls, but none yet has been able to spiritualise mankind. For that there is needed not cult & creed, but a sustained & all-comprehending effort at spiritual self-evolution. [SABCL 16:393-4]
– There are a thousand ways of approaching & realising the Divine & each way has its own experiences which have their own truth & stand really on a basis one is essence but complex in aspects, common to all but not expressed in the same way by all. There is not much use in discussing these variations; the important thing is to follow one’s own way well & thoroughly. [SABCL 22:114-15]
– Our aim is not, either, to found a religion or a school of philosophy or a school of yoga, but to create a ground of spiritual growth & experience & a way which will bring down a greater Truth beyond the mind but not inaccessible to the human soul & consciousness. All may find great difficulties in their person or common human nature; but it is not their physical origin or their racial temperament that can be an insuperable obstacle to their deliverance. [SABCL 23:559]
– What we call truth is always an equivalence between a partial truth of fact & the perception in the human mind. If too rigidly insisted upon it is itself an error, as if a tract of ground brilliantly lighted were to be taken for the whole earth & the vastnesses left in obscurity excluded as if they were non-existent. This rigidity is the ordinary method of truth-seekers. Necessary to the limited human mind, it yet prevents comprehensive vision. [CWSA 10:505]
– For the Sādhaka of the integral Yoga, it is necessary to remember that no written Shāstra, however great its authority or however large its spirit, can be more than a partial expression of the eternal Knowledge. He will use, but never bind himself even by the greatest Scripture…. [In] the end he must take his station, or better still, if he can, always & from the beginning he must live in his own soul beyond the written Truth – beyond all that he has heard & all that he has yet to hear. For he is not the Sādhaka of a book or of many books; he is a Sādhaka of the Infinite. [SABCL 20:49]
– To find the Divine is indeed the first reason for seeking the spiritual Truth & the spiritual life; it is the one thing indispensable & all the rest is nothing without it. [SABCL 23:516]
– [What are the fundamental realisations in this Yoga?] 1) The psychic change so that the complete devotion can be the main motive of the heart & the ruler of thought, life, & action in constant union with the Mother & in her Presence. 2) The descent of the Peace, Power, Light etc. of the higher consciousness through the head & heart into the whole being, occupying the very cells of the body. 3) The perception of the One & the Divine infinitely everywhere, the Mother everywhere & living in that infinite consciousness. [CWSA 30:319]
– There was no Asram at first, only a few people came to live near Sri Aurobindo & practice Yoga. It was only some time after the Mother came from Japan [24 Apr.’1920] that it took the form of the Asram [24 Nov.’1926], more from the wish of the sadhaks who desired to entrust their whole inner & outer life to the Mother than from any intention or plan of hers or of Sri Aurobindo. [SABCL 26:376]
– Queer idea all you fellows seem to have of the “prestige of the Ashram”. The prestige of an institution claiming to be a centre of spirituality lies in its spirituality, not in newspaper columns or famous people. Is it because of this mundane view of life & of the Ashram held by the sadhaks that this Ashram is not yet the centre of spirituality it set out to be? – 30 June 1938 [SABCL 26:380-81 + CWSA 35:693; traditionally twelve years of serious sādhanā are the first step; s/a Facilis Descensus in SABCL 8:165]
– …cleanse thy soul of all self-deceit & hypocrisy & vain self-flattery that thou mayst look straight into thy spirit & hear that which summons it…. But being pure cast aside all fear; for the hour is often terrible, a fire & a whirlwind & a tempest, a treading of the winepress of the wrath of God…. Nor let worldly prudence whisper too closely in thy ear; for it is the hour of the unexpected. [SABCL 17:1]
– To become ourselves is the one thing to be done; but the true ourselves is that which is within us, & to exceed our outer self of body, life & mind is the condition for this highest being, which is our true & divine being, is to become self-revealed & active.
– One who fears monotony & wants something new would not be able to do yoga or at least this yoga which needs an inexhaustible perseverance & patience. [SABCL 26:630]
The Mother: Since the beginning of the earth, wherever & whenever there was the possibility of manifesting a ray of Consciousness, I was there. [CWM 13:37]
– All souls who aspire are always under my direct care. – 27 Dec. 1957 [CWM 13:66]
– With those whom I have accepted as disciples, to whom I have said Yes, there is more than a tie, there is an emanation of me…. In truth, I hold myself responsible for everyone, even for those whom I have met only for one second in my life. [CWM 13:74]
– But being a disciple does not necessarily imply that one lives in the Ashram. In fact, there are more disciples living outside Ashram than in it. – 5 July 1937 [CWM 17:188]
– Whatever difference there is between the West & the East in relation to spiritual life lies not in the inner being or nature, which is an invariable & constant thing, but in the mental habits, in the modes of expression & presentation which are the result of education & environment & other external conditions…. Sincerity, for example, is a quality which is the same everywhere. Those who are sincere, to whichever nation they belong, are sincere in the same way. Only the forms given to this sincerity vary. – 14 April 1929 [CWM 3:12]
– Apart from the fact that the Ashram is not meant for those who seek the satisfaction of their vital or sentimental desires, but for those who aspire to perfect their consecration to the Divine, I have to warn you that here you must do only what can be done publicly because nothing can remain hidden. – 25 April 1958 [CWM 13:116]
– Disciple: This morning I told Y that Mother had told me that She does not know what will happen to this Ashram [in Pondicherry] in the future. “How is it possible?” he said, “I cannot believe that She knows nothing about the work for which She has taken a body on earth.” Mother: I do not think that I said any such thing. You must have misunderstood me. But Y is wrong to believe that I came upon earth to establish an Ashram! That would really be a very paltry objective. – 8 Dec. 1934 [CWM 17:71]
– I appreciate your feelings about what a sadhak ought to be & from that point of view, what you say is quite true. But it is well understood that the Ashram is not exclusively composed of sadhaks. The Ashram is a reduced image of life where those who practice yoga are a minority, & if I were to keep here only those who are quite sincere in their sādhanā, very few indeed would remain. – 26 Jan. 1962 [CWM 13:144]
– But something has happened in the world’s history which allows us to hope that a selected few in humanity, a small number of beings, perhaps, are ready to be transformed into pure gold & that they will be able to manifest strength without violence, heroism without destruction & courage without catastrophe.... And perhaps it would be enough if some individuals became pure gold, for this would be enough to change the course of events.... Why not heroically face the furnace of inner purification so that it does not become necessary to pass once more through one of those terrible, gigantic destructions which plunge an entire civilisation into darkness?…. This is the problem before us. It is for each one to solve it in his own way…. And I add: Time presses... from the human point of view. – 27 March 1957
– Meanwhile we are in a very special situation, extremely special, without precedent. We are now witnessing the birth of a new world; it is very young, very weak – not in its essence but in its outer manifestation – not yet recognised, not even felt, denied by the majority…. But the road to it is a completely new road which has never before been traced out…! It is a beginning, a universal beginning. So, it is an absolutely unexpected & unpredictable adventure. …. It is not a question of repeating spiritually what others have done before us…. It is a question of a new creation, entirely new, with all the unforeseen events, the risks, the hazards it entails…whose goal is certain victory, but the road to which is unknown & must be traced out step by step in the unexplored…. What will happen to you tomorrow – I have no idea. – 10 July 1957
– Since 1926 when Sri Aurobindo retired & gave me full charge of it [Asram] all has grown up & developed like the growth of a forest…not by any artificial planning but by a living & dynamic need. This is the secret of constant growth & endless progress. The present difficulties come chiefly from psychological resistances of disciples who have not been able to follow the rather rapid pace of the “sādhanā” & the yielding to the intrusion of mental methods which have corrupted the initial working. A growth & purification of the consciousness is the only remedy. – 9 March 1964 [The Aims & Ideals of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2000, p.11, quoting Bulletin, Aug. 1964: 96]
– When you are conscious of the whole world at the same time, then you can become conscious of the Divine. – 1 January 1973 [CWM 15:176]
Assam The precise origin of the term Assam is not known, but western/westernised scholars prefer the Tai term A-Cham & the Bodo term Ha-Sam. Asham is a state in north-eastern India located south of the eastern Himalayas, comprising the Brahmaputra valley & the Barak valley along with the Karbi Anglong & Dima Hasao districts with an area of 78,440 km sq. The precise etymology of “Assam” came from Ahom dynasty. Up to 12th century the region east of the Karatova River, largely congruent to present-day Assam, was called Kāmarūpa or Prāg-jyōtisha. According to Kālikā Purana, it was ruled by the Dānava dynasty which was removed by Naraka of Mithila who established the Naraka dynasty whose last king was killed by Sri Krishna. According to Mahābhārata, the Naraka king Bhāga Dutta fought for the Kauravas with an army consisting largely of Kirātas. The Moghuls used the terms Asham for the eastern & Kāmarūpa for western Assam when the country was ruled by the Ahoms, a people of Mongoloid origin, who had settled in Upper Burma & occupied a part of the Brahmaputra valley as early as the 13th century. Here they were gradually Hinduised & adopted the Hindu religion & customs. British colonialism combined & corrupted both to Assam. After some unsuccessful attempts for independence in 1850s, its leaders joined the Congress. British tea planters imported labour from central India adding to the demographic canvas. Initially Assam was made part of the Bengal Presidency, with Shillong as its capital; during the period of the partition of Bengal (1905-1911), together with 15 districts of eastern Bengal it was part of East Bengal & Assam. In 1912 it was reconstituted into a Chief Commissioner’s province. In 1913, a legislative council & in 1937 the Assam Legislative Assembly were in Shillong. Along with Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura & Meghalaya it is one of the seven sister states connected to the rest of India via a 22 km strip of land in West Bengal called Siliguri Corridor or “Chicken’s Neck”. Assam shares an international border with Bhutan & Bangladesh; & its culture, people & climate are similar to those of SE Asia.
Astarte/ Ashtaroth/ Ashtoreth Jewish goddess of moon, fertility, beauty, love.
Asūra a being of the mentalised vital plane; the intellectualised but unregenerate Ego. It is the sixth type from below of the ten forms of consciousness in the evolutionary scale of man. He is mind concentrated on the Būddhi.
Aswapati/ Aswapathy Lord of the Horse, i.e. Tapasyā.
Atlanta in Calydon drama by Swinburne in lyrical Greek form with choruses.
Ate daughter of Zeus who cast her from his Olympus. She was a personification of the rash temper which leads men to folly & misfortune. In Greek tragedies, she was also an avenger of evil deeds, hence often confused with Nemesis & the Erinnyes
Athanasian Creed Christian profession of faith, also known as the Quicunque vult, a Latin exposition of orthodox teaching on the Trinity & the incarnation in about forty verses. Regarded as authoritative in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, & some Protestant churches, the creed begins & ends with stern warnings that unswerving adherence to Christianity is indispensable to salvation.
Atharvān/ Atharvā eldest son of Lord Brahma & seer of the Atharva Veda. His descendants, Atharvāns, are often associated with Āṇgirasas.
Atharva Veda also called Atharvān (Ātharvana), after its creator.
Athene/ Pallas (Athene)/ Athena sprang, unmothered, from the forehead of Zeus, goddess of reason & skill, the arts of peace & war, & guardian of cities, esp. Athens, she depicted as a woman of severe beauty in armour, who fights to uphold the right & establish order. Her statue, the Palladium, stood in Troy & assured its protection so long as it remained undisturbed. Athene sided with Odysseus in the Trojan War which destroyed Troy as had been the will of Zeus.
Atreus king of Mycenae (q.v.); suffering from the curse laid on his father Pelops (q.v.), he brought an even greater curse (see Thyestean) upon himself & his sons, Agamemnon & Menelaus.
Atri ‘eater’ or ‘traveller’, one of the Prajāpatis, he composed many Vedic hymns, esp. those composed in praise of Agni, Indra, the Ashwins, & the Vishwadevas. The Atris are a family of Vedic sages to whom is attributed Mandala V of the Rig Veda. Several communities of Brāhmins, Prajāpatis, Kshatriyas, & Vaishyas claim him as their progenitor, i.e. belong to his gōtra.
Atrides/ Atridae/ Atreids descendants of Atreus, esp. Agamemnon & Menelaus.
Attica in ancient Greece, a triangular area around Athens.
Attila king of Huns (c.433-53) who shattered the decadent Roman Empire.
Attis poem by Catullus (q.v.) in which Attis emasculates himself in order to become a priest of Cybele (q.v.), Mother of Gods, then regrets. Attis was Cybele’s consort.
Auddalaki Āruni descendant of Uddālaka Āruni. Āruni is the patronymic normally referring to Uddālaka whose mother was the revered yogini Arūṇā Aupaveśi.
Augustan The Augustan Age (43BC–18AD) was a most illustrious period in Latin literary history. “Augustan Age” is applied to 18th century England & less frequently to 17th century in France. In a narrow sense “English Augustan Age” applies to the reign of Queen Anne, in a broader to the period of Alexander Pope.
Saint Augustine (1) (354-430), Bishop of Hippo, whose Confessions is considered a classic of Christian mysticism & his influence on Christianity as second only to St. Paul’s. One of the four Latin Fathers of the Christian Church, he is regarded as the founder of Christian Theology. His conviction that Man, being born in sin & hence corrupt, is incapable of taking the first step towards his salvation without God’s grace involved him in a great controversy against Pelagianism which denies Man’s original sin & fall & hence implies that he can take his first steps towards salvation on his own. Augustine’s elaborate writings on this subject led Calvin (q.v.) & the Jansenists to develop their predestinarian theologies. [See SABCL 23:533, 609; CWSA 29:42, 168]
Saint Augustine (2) (d. c.605) Benedictine monk, sent at the head of 40-odd monks by Pope St. Gregory (c.540-604) to England in 597, with the mission of introducing more Roman Catholic ways. The king of England gave them land at Canterbury. His mission was resented by the Celtic monks of British Isles whose practices were more severe; ultimately England banned Celtic Christian practices. Called the Apostle of the English, Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury from 601. [See SABCL 22:321, 323-24; CWSA 28:173, 175-76]
Augustus Caesar (63 BC to 14 AD) grandson of Julius Caesar’s sister & first Caesar (Roman Emperor). Born Gaius Octavius, he became, on adoption by the Julian gens (44 BC), Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian); Augustus was a title granted by the senate in 27 BC. The greatest administrator in European history, his Pax Romana laid the foundation of the civilisation of the Roman Empire.
Aulis landlocked harbour on the east coast of Boeotia from where the Greek fleet sailed to Troy, after Agamemnon killed his daughter Iphigenia as sacrifice the gods to break a calm & allow the armada to depart.
Aundh Commission appointed by Govt. in 1907 to shore up its charge against the Prince of Aundh (in Bombay Presidency) of killing his chief minister. Under Pax Britannica (q.v.), each hereditary native ruler was Queen-Empress’ feudatory nicknamed ‘princes’, completely under the thumb of Viceroy’s British Agent governing that kingdom reduced to ‘a state’.
Aurangzeb(e) (1618-1707), 6th Mogul Emperor (1659-1707), 3rd son of Shah-Jahan, he named himself Ālamgīr (conqueror of the world). He initiated his God-given career in 1658 by murdering his brothers & imprisoning his father. Between 1661 & 1667 Aurangzeb received “complimentary embassies” from the Sharif of Mecca, the Kings of Persia, Balkh, Bokhara, Kāshghar, Urganj (Khiva) & Shahr-i-nau, the Turkish governors of Basra, Hadramauth, Yaman (Yemen) & Mocha, the ruler of Barbary, & the King of Abyssinia, & one embassy from Constantinople in 1590. As one who secured the throne was champion of Sunni orthodoxy against his unorthodox elder brother Dārā Shukhoh, he tried to enforce strictly the Quaranic law, according to which it behoves every pious Muslim to carry on Jihād against the dār-ul-harb (non-Muslim lands) of kāfirs (unbelievers) of till they are converted to dār-ul-Islām (Muslim lands). In 1669, he forbade music at court & dismissed the old musicians & singers; in 1670, royal astronomers & astrologers were dismissed. He also abolished the Nauroz, which the Mughal emperors had borrowed from Persia. He passed an ordinance prohibiting the production, sale & public use of wine & bhang; ordered dancing girls & public women to get married, or leave his kingdom. In 1679 he re-imposed the jizyā tax on kāfirs (unbelievers) which meant the majority community, the Hindus. By 1690, Aurangzeb had reached the zenith of his power & was the lord of almost whole of India – from Kābul to Chittagong & Kashmir to Kāveri. But it was also the beginning of his end, for he tried to govern it single-handed – his industry & capacity for work created over-confidence in himself & distrust of even his closest officers, leading to his constant interference in the minutest affairs of State. The collapse of his empire began with uprisings of the Jāts of Mathurā, of the Bundelās led by the legendary Chhatrasāl (whose father had started the revolt but when cornered had committed suicide), of the Satnāmis in of Patiālā, & of the Sikhs led by their illustrious Gurus. Failing to realise the value of his long-standing allies the Rājputs, he began his campaign against them by annexing Amber after its powerful king, Raja Jay Singh, died in 1667. He then attacked Mārwār, fearing that its king Jashwant might create an all-Rājput confederation against him just because he had been a supporter of his brother Dārā Shukhoh. When Jashwant died, protecting Aurangzeb’s North-West frontier, Aurangzeb bought off his nephew & thus the throne of Jodhpur. But the Rāthods of Mārwār rose up under the Durgādās, son of Jashwant’s minister, “one of the immortals in the history of Rājputāna” whose utter dedication to the independence his nation & the courage of his officers, forced Aurangzeb to bring in heavy reinforcements under his three sons: Mu’azzam, ‘A’zam, & Akbar. But to Durgādās’ aid jumped in the Sisodias of Mewād for Jashwant Singh wife was a Sisodia princess. This turned a bilateral into a national conflict. The Rājputs carried off the provisions of Akbar’s army. When Aurangzeb replaced Akbar by ‘A’zam, Akbar sought the alliance of the Rājputs to dethrone his father. Aurangzeb ruse of tricking the Rājputs into cutting off Akbar failed & Durgādās saved Akbar from being captured by his father, & escorted him to Shivaji’s son Shambhāji who failed to provide effective aid his charge. Akbar was forced to exile himself to Persia where he died in 1704. Meanwhile Durgādās carried on his war with Aurangzeb until his son & successor Bahadur Shah I, recognised Jashwant Singh’s son as the Rāṇā of Mewād in 1709. The death of Shivaji in 1680 did not improve Aurangzeb’s position with the Marāthās in Dakshīna (Anglicised to Deccan). The Marāthas, who from 1691 carried on a war of national resistance, grew into the only native power that could have achieved a unified India, in spite of a battlefield stacked with disunited brothers, unpredictable native allies & the Octopus setting each of them against one another.
In the closing years of the Ālamgīr’s life, the revenue of Bengal was the sole support of his household or his army. Lawlessness reigned in most of his Empire in North & Central India. In the province of Ᾱgra there was chronic disorder. He was an ardent student of Muslim theology, an expert calligraphist but he seldom encouraged art & letters. The only literary production that received his patronage was the Fatāwa-i-Ᾱlamgīrī, which has been regarded as “the greatest digest of Muslim law made in India”. Not a single edifice, finely written manuscript, or exquisite picture, commemorates Aurangzeb’s reign. Unlike his great-grandfather Akbar’s & Dārā Shukhoh’s openness to other world-views than the Quaranic which led him to dream of a Moghul Empire based on religious reconciliation & amity, Ᾱlamgīr’s inflexible Quaranic convictions brooked no religious tolerance in himself or his people, & he saw failure piled upon failure. He wrote to his son ‘A’zam: “I came alone & am going alone. I have not done well to the country & the people, & of the future there is no hope.” Worn out in mind & body by heavy cares & hard toil, he died at Ahmadnagar on 3rd March 1707; his body was carried to Daulatābād & interred in the compound of the tomb of Saint Burhān-ud-din. [See Advanced History of India, pp. 484-503]
Austin, Alfred (1835-1913), succeeded Tennyson as poet laureate as he wrote in praise of English & Italian countrysides.
Austria currently a land-locked federal republic in central Europe. Before World War I (1914-19) it was with Hungary an empire & one of the great powers of Europe.
Austro-Italian Sri Aurobindo: “[A] feeling or a thought, Nationalism, Democracy, the aspiration towards liberty, cannot be estimated in the terms of concrete power; in so many fighting men, so many armed police, so many guns, so many prisons, such & such laws, ukases, & executive powers…. It was a thought that overthrew the despotism of centuries in France & revolutionised Europe. It was a mere sentiment against which the irresistible might of the Spanish armies & the organised cruelty of Spanish repression were shattered in the Netherlands [see Spanish Netherlands], which… loosened the iron grip of Austria on Italy.” [SABCL Vol.1:411] ― For some 150 years (1559–1713) Spain was the paramount power in Italy. Italy was exhausted by war & burdened by taxation. Spain’s influence was a deterrent to energy & initiative. The Treaty of Utrecht (1713), which ended the War of the Spanish Succession, established the Austrian Habsburgs in the place of the Spanish as Italy’s dominant power. The treaty makers parcelled out Italian territory regardless of history or tradition to compensate the victors. …. Since the Middle Ages, Austria had a great influence over the Italian states, especially in the north of the country. On the other side Italy influenced Austrian culture, architecture & cuisine, many artists & architects like Santino Solari, Martino Altamonte, Giovanni Zucalli, & Vincenzo Scamozzi worked & contributed to the Baroque in Austria & most notable in Salzburg. .... After the Congress of Vienna, Austrian control of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, with its key cities of Venice & Milan, created the conditions in which Italian nationalism & Austrian interests clashed in the three Wars of Italian Independence between 1848 & 1866 ultimately leading to Italian victory. Tensions remained throughout the 1870s as continued Austrian rule over Italian inhabited lands such as in Trentino & Istria, inflamed Italian nationalism which in turn threatened Austrian integrity; as a result the Austrians built further fortifications along the Italian border. .... Despite entering into the Triple Alliance of 1882 (along with Germany), areas of clashing interest remained. Italy’s improving relations with France, Italian interests in the Balkans, & continuing nationalism among Italians within Austria-Hungary concerned leaders in Vienna. Italy’s adherence to the Triple Alliance in the event of war was doubted & from 1903 plans for a possible war against Rome were again maintained by the Austrian general staff. Mutual suspicions led to reinforcement of the frontier & speculation in the press about a war between the two countries into the first decade of the twentieth century. As late as 1911 Count Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, chief of the Austrian general staff, was advocating a military strike against Austria’s supposed Italian allies. .... During World War I, Italy fought against Austria–Hungary despite their defensive alliance signed some decades earlier. By World War I’s end, Italy emerged victorious & gained new territories from Austria & border agreements were secured. [See Internet on Austria-Italy relations, Revolutions of 1848 in the Italian states, & Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia]
Auto-de-f “act of faith” in Portuguese, a ceremony or festival during which the sentences upon those brought before the Spanish Inquisition (16th-17th cent.) were read out & batches of the so-called “heretics”, men & women, were burnt alive on huge pyres in the presence of the king & royal family & ambassadors & laity.
Automedon son of Diores, drove Achilles’ chariot hitched to the immortal horses Balius & Xanthus.
Avachuri gloss or short commentary in Sanskrit on Kumarasambhavam.
Avant(h)i(e)/ Avanty/ Avunthie also Avaṇtikā; ancient kingdom corresponding roughly to present western Mālwā (q.v.) in Madhya Pradesh. In 600 BC its capital was Mahishmati (probably present Mandhāta on the Narmadā), but it was moved to Ujjayini. At that time it was one of the śodaśa janapadas (16 republics) that occupied the territories from the Kābul valley to the banks of the Godāvari; among the other janapadas were Aṇga (east Bihar), Magadha (south Bihar) Kāshi (Vārānasi), Kōshala (Oudh), Malla (Gorakhpur), Chedi (between Jamunā & Narmadā), Vatsa (Allahabad), Kuru (Thāneshwar, Delhi & Meerut districts) Pānchāla (Bareilly, Badāūn & Farrukhabad districts), Matsya (Jaipur), Gāndhāra (Peshawar, Rawalpindi), Kambōja (SW Kashmir & Kāfiristān). At the time the Buddha (563-483 BC), these janapadas turned into four powerful kingdoms Avanti, Vatsa, Magadha, & Kōshala: Avanti was ruled by Chunda Pradyōta Mahāsena; Vatsa (Kauśāmbi) by Udayana a descendant of the Bharata race who carried off the daughter of Pradyōta & also married a princess of Magadha whose king Ajātashatru built Pātaliputra (roughly Patna in Bihar); & Kōshala by Mahā Koshala a descendant of the Ikshvāku dynasty that ruled from Ayodhyā. In the 4th century BC Chandragupta Maurya conquered Avanti & it became part of his empire.
Avelion or Avalon: in Arthurian legend, a place in “Isle of the Blessed” of the Celts, where King Arthur was conveyed for the healing of his wounds after his final battle.
Avernus entrance to Hades, a lake on whose banks dwelt Homer’s Cimmerians.
Avesta sacred Book of Zoroastrianism containing its cosmogony, law, liturgy, & the teachings of Zoroaster. Zend-Avesta is a commentary. Their voluminous manuscripts were destroyed by Alexander. The present Avesta was assembled from the remnants & standardised under the Sasānian kings in 3rd–7th century. It comprises five books including the Khurd Avestā.
Avvai Awaiyār, Tamil saint-poet; like Ᾱndāla (q.v.) pre-6th cent.
Aylmer, Rose daughter of Lord Aylmer, whose lover Landor (q.v.) wrote the elegy Rose Aylmer. Exiled to Calcutta, she died at the age of twenty.
Ayodhya capital of Koshala, the kingdom founded by Ikshvāku of the Sūrya Vamsha.
Ᾱyush first-born son of Pururavas & Urvashi, in Kālidāsa’s Vikramorvasīyam.
Azrael in Koran, angel of death, who severs soul from body.